Eleven-year-old Meghan Markle fights sexism on Nickelodeon in resurfaced video

Footage reveals she wrote a letter to Procter & Gamble over the language of their advert for Ivory dish soap

Maya Oppenheim
Monday 21 May 2018 12:39 BST
11-year-old Meghan Markle changed a sexist ad - by writing a letter

The Duchess of Sussex’s feminist credentials were present even as an 11-year-old, footage of the youngster shows.

An old video reveals Meghan Markle, who married Prince Harry at Windsor Castle on Saturday, fighting sexism as a young child on Nickelodeon.

The Suits actor was featured on the TV channel’s news programme in 1993 for writing a letter to Procter & Gamble over the language of their advert for Ivory dish soap.

The advert, which she had seen in a classroom, had the slogan: “Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.”

After she gathered support, the reference to “women” was changed to “people”.

In the interview with Nick News anchor Linda Ellerbee, Ms Markle said: "I don't think it is right for kids to grow up thinking that mum does everything… It's always mum does this, and mum does that.

"I said, wait a minute, how could somebody say that? Just about one out of every three commercials is going to say something that's going to hurt somebody's feelings."

She added: “If you see something that you don't like or offended by on television or any other place, write letters and send them to the right people and you can really make a difference, not just for yourself but for lots of other people."

Meghan, a former UN ambassador for women’s rights, looked back at the saga in a speech at the United Nations in 2015 nearly 22 years after seeing the advert. "It just wasn't right and something needed to be done," she said.

"At the age of 11, I created my small level of impact by standing up for equality.”

She said after she and her fellow pupils saw an advert for the dishwashing soap, she became "shocked and angry" by how they depicted gender roles, and also upset with two male classmates who quipped women "belong" in the kitchen.

After Meghan went home and told her parents, her father urged her to stand up for what she believed in and pen a letter "to the most powerful people".

Taking his advice, she sent a letter to Procter & Gamble and high profile figures such as former First Lady Hillary Clinton, women’s rights lawyer Gloria Allred and Nick News anchor Ellerbee.

After she urged Procter & Gamble to change the language to "people" rather than "women", the company agreed to do so.

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