Meghan Markle On New Child Care Initiative: Families 'Are Asked To Shoulder So Much'

"Today, we’re sending a message that childcare isn’t just a community imperative—it’s a business imperative," the Duchess of Sussex wrote.

Meghan Markle is advocating for working moms ― and families all over ― in a new initiative aiming to increase child care assistance.

The Duchess of Sussex was featured in a release announcing that the Marshall Plan for Moms, an initiative that aims to help change labor conditions for women and working moms in particular, is organizing a “National Business Coalition for Child Care.”

The business coalition already includes Athletes Unlimited, Care.com, Fast Retailing, Gibson Dunn, Patagonia, Synchrony and Meghan and Harry’s Archewell. To join, a company must help provide child care ― or a child care benefit ― to its employees, according to The New York Times.

“Families everywhere, and especially working moms, are asked to shoulder so much,” Meghan said in a release shared with HuffPost on Wednesday. “This has only been heightened by the pandemic, with increased caregiving responsibilities, rising prices, and economic uncertainty.”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attend the sitting volleyball event during the Invictus Games at Zuiderpark on April 17 in The Hague, Netherlands.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attend the sitting volleyball event during the Invictus Games at Zuiderpark on April 17 in The Hague, Netherlands.
Karwai Tang via Getty Images

“As it’s been said many times, it takes a village to raise a child,” the duchess added. “Today, we’re sending a message that childcare isn’t just a community imperative—it’s a business imperative. Creating a stronger workforce starts with meeting the needs of families.”

In a separate statement, Reshma Saujani, the founder and CEO of the Marshall Plan for Moms, wrote: “The input from working parents is clear: employer child care supports can improve the recruitment, retention, productivity, and happiness of employees.

“This is not only crucial for the health and wellbeing of individual American families,” Saujani said, “but also central to American economic competitiveness.”

The Duchess of Sussex spoke about the need to assist families, and primarily mothers, when she previously advocated for paid leave for all in a letter addressed to Congress in October.

In that letter, she spoke of her own upbringing and what it was like for her and her husband, Prince Harry, to welcome their second child, Lilibet, last year. The two are also parents to son Archie, who is 3.

“Like any parents, we were overjoyed. Like many parents, we were overwhelmed,” Meghan said, in the note published on Paid Leave for All. “Like fewer parents, we weren’t confronted with the harsh reality of either spending those first few critical months with our baby or going back to work.”

“No family should be faced with these decisions,” the duchess said, adding that “No family should have to choose between earning a living and having the freedom to take care of their child (or a loved one, or themselves, as we would see with a comprehensive paid leave plan).”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex pictured with their son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, at a meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu during their royal tour of South Africa on Sept. 25, 2019, in Cape Town, South Africa.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex pictured with their son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, at a meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu during their royal tour of South Africa on Sept. 25, 2019, in Cape Town, South Africa.
Pool via Getty Images

A national paid leave program was initially part of Democrats’ comprehensive Build Back Better bill, but opposition from more moderate members of the party led to it being cut.

“Paid leave should be a national right, rather than a patchwork option limited to those whose employers have policies in place, or those who live in one of the few states where a leave program exists,” Meghan wrote in her October letter. “If we’re going to create a new era of family first policies, let’s make sure that includes a strong paid leave program for every American that’s guaranteed, accessible, and encouraged without stigma or penalty.”

The duchess explained that the issue “isn’t about Right or Left, it’s about right or wrong,” before invoking her family in her signoff.

“So, on behalf of my family, Archie and Lili and Harry, I thank you for considering this letter, and on behalf of all families, I ask you to ensure this consequential moment is not lost.”

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