Meghan Markle launches 40x40 female mentorship program to mark her 40th birthday

ByMax Foster, CNN, CNNWire
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Prince Harry, Meghan welcome healthy baby girl
Prince Harry and Meghan welcomed a healthy baby girl in June. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex named their daughter Lilibet "Lili" Diana Mountbatten-Windsor.

To mark her 40th birthday, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has launched a mentorship program to support women getting back into the workforce after the pandemic.

The scheme, named 40x40, is "a global effort encouraging people around the world to commit to giving 40 minutes of their time to support women going back to work," a press release from the Archewell Foundation, founded by Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry, said Wednesday.

"In reflecting on my 40th birthday and the many things I am grateful for, I'm struck that time is among our greatest and most essential gifts," Meghan wrote in a message on the Archewell website.

"In the past two years, and in large part because of the COVID-19 pandemic, tens of millions of women around the world have left the workforce, including over two million women in the US," the duchess wrote.

"So many of these women are also shouldering the brunt of the crisis when it comes to unpaid labor, 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 said.

"I believe mentorship is one way to help women regain confidence and rebuild their economic strength," she added.

The duchess asked 40 activists, athletes, artists and world leaders to participate. Among those who have committed to giving 40 minutes of their time to mentor a woman in their community are pop star Adele, poet Amanda Gorman and California Surgeon General Nadine Burke Harris.

Actress Melissa McCarthy joined Meghan in a video to announce the launch of the program. At one point, Harry could be seen juggling in the background.