“Feminism is about fairness.”
The Duchess of Sussex attended a reception at Government House with her husband, Prince Harry, to celebrate 125 years of women’s suffrage on the first night of their New Zealand tour delivering an empowering speech.
Meghan was invited to speak to a group of esteemed guests that included Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Simon Bridges, Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy and a number of women lawmakers.
After thanking the crowd for welcoming herself and Harry, Meghan congratulated New Zealand on becoming the first country in the world to allow women to vote, effectively paving the way for others around the world to follow suit.
“In looking forward to this very special occasion, I reflected on the importance of this achievement, but also the larger impact of what this symbolises,” said Meghan.
Jacinda Ardern reportedly told Meghan her speech was “perfect”.
“Because yes, women’s suffrage is about feminism, but feminism is about fairness. Suffrage is not simply about the right to vote but also about what that represents. The basic and fundamental human right of all people including those members of society who have been marginalised — whether for reasons of race, gender, ethnicity or orientation — being able to participate in the choices for their future, and their community.”
“So bravo New Zealand, for championing this right 125 years ago for the women who well deserve to have an active voice and acknowledged vote and for all the people that this effort has paved the way for globally, we all deeply thank you.
“In the words of your suffragette, Kate Sheppard, ‘All that separates, whether of race, class, creed or sex, is inhuman and must be overcome.'”
WATCH: Duchess Meghan’s empowering speech celebrating the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand
Meghan’s speech was applauded for another reason, too: she spoke a little Te Reo Māori.
The Duchess, looking slightly bashful, greeted the crowd by saying, “tena kotou katoa”, which roughly translates to ‘Greetings all’. Her effort to speak Te Reo was met with an encouraging round of applause.
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🇳🇿 “Bravo New Zealand for championing this right 125 years ago – for the women who well deserve to have an active voice and acknowledged vote, and for all of the people that this effort has paved the way for globally.” — The Duchess of Sussex, as she and The Duke joined PM @JacindaArdern for a reception hosted by @GovGeneralNZ Dame Patsy Reddy to celebrate the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand. #RoyalVisitNZ
WATCH: Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex speak Te Reo Māori
Words: Bronte Chaperon
Photos: Getty Images
This article originally appeared on Now to Love.