Meghan Markle to help women return to work

The Duchess is marking her birthday with a global mentorship initiative

Meghan Markle to help women return to work

To mark her 40th birthday, Meghan Markle rounded some of her fellow celebrities to mentor women and help them return to the workplace. Called the 40×40 project, the initiative is aimed at supporting women who were disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The project was promoted through Archewell, which is Markle and Prince Harry’s charitable foundation.

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40x40 will see activists, athletes, artists and world leaders offer 40 minutes of their time to share advice on how to ease back into a career. Some big names include musician Adele, poet Amanda Gorman, and fashion designer Stella McCartney, reported Women’s Agenda.

In a message published on Archewell, seen by HRD, Markle shared her inspiration behind the global initiative. “With my 40th lap around the sun in mind, it made me wonder: what would happen if we all committed 40 minutes to helping someone else or to mentoring someone in need?” she wrote. “And then what would happen if we asked our friends to do the same?”

She reflected on how women would especially benefit from mentoring, as findings showed how women globally bore the brunt of the pandemic. Data from the World Economic Forum for instance suggested that the COVID crisis has worsened the gender gap – it’ll now take an estimated 135 years to close the gender gap at workplaces, compared with 100 years pre-pandemic. Another study by Deloitte on the other hand found that COVID-19 will create a ripple effect on women’s careers, with more than four in five women (82%) saying they’ve experienced a negative impact in their lives.

Read more: The pandemic is taking a toll on women's career growth

“I believe mentorship is one way to help women regain confidence and rebuild their economic strength,” wrote Markle. “And for my birthday, I have asked 40 friends, activists, athletes, artists, and world leaders to help kick off a global effort by contributing 40 minutes of mentorship to support women re-entering the workforce. With this time, I hope they each help someone advance a professional life on her own terms, and, I hope that they inspire countless others to give 40 minutes of their time as well.”

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