Meghan Markle has marked the milestone of turning 40 by announcing a project which sees forty celebrities donate 40 minutes of their time to help women return to the workplace.
The 40×40 project is an initiative aiming to support women returning to work after the Covid pandemic disproportionately affected women’s work. The initiative was launched with a short comedy film featuring a virtual conversation between Melissa McCarthy and the Markle’s husband, Prince Harry, made a faint cameo appearance in the background, juggling outside Megan’s office window.
The video allows viewers a sneak peek into the couple’s new house in Montecito in California, two hours north west of L.A.
Markle’s family of celebrities for the project includes activists, athletes, artists and world leaders. The big names include musician Adele, poet Amanda Gorman, fashion designer Stella McCartney, and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau.
“Because I’m turning 40 I’m asking 40 friends to donate 40 minutes of their time to help mentor a woman who is mobilising back into the workforce.” Markle says in the video.
“Over 2 million in the US alone and tens of millions around the world have lost their jobs due to Covid, and I think if we all do it and all commit 40 minutes to some sort of act of service we can create a ripple effect.”
Markle also released a statement on Archewell, the website of the couple’s charitable foundation, which they founded in 2020.
In the statement, she explained the 40×40 initiative was a product of her recent reflections upon turning forty, and that she realised that that time is “among our greatest and most essential gifts” especially “time spent in service to others”.
She outlined research showing that fewer women than men will return to work as the post-pandemic recovery begins, and why she believes “mentorship is one way to help women regain confidence and rebuild their economic strength”.
“I believe mentorship is one way to help women regain confidence and rebuild their economic strength, 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.”
“If you are able, please join and pledge 40 minutes today in service of others in the way that feels right to you. The time that you donate can contribute to a global wave of service and set in motion meaningful impact in our own communities, and across the world.”