To mark her 40th birthday, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, has launched a new initiative.

The project, entitled 40×40, requests 40 individuals to dedicate 40 minutes of their time to mentor a woman, ultimately contributing to her return to the workforce after the pandemic.

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“Because I’m turning 40, I’m asking 40 friends to donate 40 minutes of their time to help mentor a woman who is mobilizing back into the workforce,” Markle said in the video announcement. “Over 2 million women in the U.S. 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.”

The summary for the initiative reads, “So many of these women are also shouldering the brunt of the crisis when it comes to unpaid labour, including schooling and caring for family members. And the latest research shows that fewer women than men will regain work as we recover from the pandemic.”

She made the announcement in a two-minute video that is up on the Archwell website. To make the announcement she had the help of actress Melissa McCarthy.

In the comedic announcement video Markle first divulges to a distracted McCarthy that she has an idea to celebrate her birthday, after a quick wardrobe change for the latter and a few guesses that Markle either dodges or laughs at, she finally begins to tell her, and with her, the audience, about her initiative.


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Some people involved, along with Melissa McCarthy, are Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, Adele, Katie Couric, Nobel peace prize nominee Amanda Nguyen, author Deepak Chopra and activist Dr Ibram X Kendi, the list goes on. Priyanka Chopra is also one of the 40 names.

“If you are able, please JOIN US 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,” read the end of the statement on the website.

This is Markle’s first public appearance since the birth of her child, Lilibet. We see her children in photos on the desk while Harry appears in a blooper towards the end. Their beloved beagle, Guy, sits patiently, albeit, appearing a little grumpy, on a cushion.

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