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Meghan Markle on being a feminist and why she doesn't look at Twitter

The Duchess of Sussex opened up about global feminism and social media at a panel for International Women's Day.
/ Source: TODAY

Long before she became the Duchess of Sussex, the former Meghan Markle proudly considered herself a feminist.

She recalled her feminist awakening as a pre-teen and outlined her global vision of feminism while speaking at a panel at King's College London on Friday put on by the Queen's Commonwealth Trust for International Women's Day.

Meghan Markle speaks out on International Womens Day
The Duchess of Sussex gave her perspective on feminism during a panel for International Women's Day. WireImage

"At the age of 11, I saw a commercial that was sexist,'' she said. "Something struck me internally. No one told me it was wrong, but I knew it was wrong. It really set up a trajectory for me to say if something is wrong."

"If things are wrong and there is a lack of justice and an inequality, someone needs to say something — and why can't it be you?"

Meghan was referring to a video clip that surfaced in 2017 from a 1993 Nickelodeon news program focused on an 11-year-old Markle and her successful fight against sexist advertising.

She had noticed during a school assignment that an ad for a dishwashing detergent suggested women do all the cleaning. She complained about it in a letter to Proctor & Gamble, which responded by changing a line in the ad.

Meghan, who is set to give birth to her first child with Prince Harry this spring, is now using her strong voice to advocate for feminism across the world.

Meghan Markle speaks out on International Womens Day
Meghan said that she hopes her baby boy or girl, due this spring, will grow up to be a feminist. Getty Images

"It's impossible for me to sit back and not do anything,'' she said. "My role now expands that platform. It is about global feminism. I started at 11, but it still feels like the beginning."

Meghan appeared on the panel alongside singer Annie Lennox, who is the founder of the nongovernmental organization The Circle, as well as former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard of the Global Institute for Women's Leadership, Let Us Learn founder Chrisann Jarrett, Gurls Talk founder and model Adwoa Aboah and Camfed executive director Angeline Murimirwa.

Meghan Markle speaks out on International Womens Day
British model Adwoa Aboah, former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, British journalist Anne McElvoy and Camfed Regional Director Zimbabwe's Angeline Murimirwa attend a panel discussion to mark International Women's Day. Getty Images

Meghan also stressed that feminism is more than just a rallying cry on social media.

"Hashtags are not enough,'' she said.

As for her own social media use, she doesn't look at it.

"It's our responsibility. We make a choice on what we click on. We make a choice in what we read. We make a choice in what we engage in. That is our personal decision, to not feed into negativity,'' she said. "I'm not part of any of that. I don't look at [Twitter]. That is my personal preference."

Meghan Markle speaks out on International Womens Day
British singer Annie Lennox, British model Adwoa Aboah and the Duchess of Sussex are shown during their panel discussion. Getty Images

Her vision of feminism includes the support of men.

"We must be global feminists and include men and boys,'' she said. "I hope men are part of the conversation. My husband certainly is."

She hopes that the newest royal baby will grow up with the same goal of empowering women and pushing for equality.

"It’s funny, I’ve actually been joking the last few weeks,'' she said. "I had seen this documentary on Netflix about feminism, and one of the things they said during pregnancy was ‘I feel the embryonic kicking of feminism.’ I loved that, so boy or girl, whatever it is, we hope that that’s the case with our little bump."