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Meghan launches work initiative for women on 40th birthday

·2-min read

The Duchess of Sussex has used her 40th birthday to launch an initiative to help women back into work after the huge job losses caused by the Covid pandemic.

The project, which was launched with a comedy film featuring a juggling Prince Harry, is called 40x40 and is focused on encouraging people around the world to donate 40 minutes of their time to help women return to the workplace.

In the video Meghan says: “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.

Related: Women face significant jobs risk during Covid pandemic, UK analysis finds

“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.”

Meghan was joined by celebrity friends and activists for the launch, some of whom said they would be giving 40 minutes of their own time to help a woman in their community. Among them were Adele, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau and Stella McCartney.

The duchess has written a statement explaining the new initiative on the website of the couple’s charitable foundation, Archewell. In it she says that when reflecting on turning 40, she was struck that time is “among our greatest and most essential gifts” especially “time spent in service to others”.

She goes on to say that research has shown fewer women than men will return to work as the recovery begins. She adds she believes “mentorship is one way to help women regain confidence and rebuild their economic strength”. She says she hopes that through the project “countless” women will be inspired to give 40 minutes of their time to others.

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