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Meghan Markle Teams Up with Katie Couric and Brooke Shields on International Women's Day Panel at SXSW

The Duchess of Sussex joined a panel called "Breaking Barriers, Shaping Narratives: How Women Lead On and Off the Screen"

<p>SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty </p> Meghan Markle at SXSW on March 8, 2024

SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty

Meghan Markle at SXSW on March 8, 2024

Meghan Markle is celebrating International Women's Day beside some famous faces.

After Meghan and Prince Harry had a dinner date at Soho House Austin in Texas on Thursday, the Duchess of Sussex stepped out for the opening day of the SXSW Conference. Coinciding with International Women's Day, Meghan, 42, joined a panel called "Breaking Barriers, Shaping Narratives: How Women Lead On and Off the Screen" alongside Katie CouricBrooke Shields and author and sociologist Nancy Wang Yuen in a conversation moderated by Errin Haines, host of The Amendment podcast and editor-at-large for The 19th.

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Prince Harry, 39, proudly supported his wife from the crowd, sitting front and center for the panel.

During the discussion, Meghan shared the story about how she advocated for Procter & Gamble to change a dishwashing soap commercial that advertised its product only to women when she was only 11. Shields chimed in, "When I was 11, I was playing a prostitute. I wish I had known you."

"A little different," Meghan replied with a laugh.

Related: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Could Be 'Vital Players' Had They Stayed in the U.K.: 'They Desperately Need Him'

Speaking about social media, the Duchess of Sussex shared that she "keeps her distance" from it now "for my own well-being."

"The bulk of the bullying and the abuse that I was experiencing in social media and online was when I was pregnant, with Archie and with Lili, and with a newborn with each of them," she said, wondering "why people would be so hateful."

"It's not catty, it's cruel," she said.

Meghan also pointed out that it's often women speaking poorly about other women online.

Shields followed up by saying it was her children who advised her not to read comments.

<p>SUZANNE CORDEIRO / AFP</p> Prince Harry supports wife Meghan Markle at SXSW panel on March 8, 2024

SUZANNE CORDEIRO / AFP

Prince Harry supports wife Meghan Markle at SXSW panel on March 8, 2024

Meghan regularly marks International Women's Day with public appearances. In 2023, she joined the Archewell Foundation team at Harvest Home, a Los Angeles-based organization that supports women and children. The group spent the day creating a pop-up baby boutique and hosted lunch from a female-owned restaurant in addition to donating to the charity.

"Happy International Women's Day to all of you! Whether donating your time, funds or helping a woman in your community, let's all celebrate the women in our lives today and every day!" said a message on the Archewell Foundation website.

The Duchess of Sussex has also marked International Women's Day by participating in a 2019 panel discussion (while she was pregnant with Prince Archie!), sending treats to the Hubb Community Kitchen (which Meghan helped to a cookbook to raise funds following the Grenville Tower fire in 2017) and visiting a school for an International Women's Day assembly.

<p>SXSW/Youtube</p> Errin Haines, Meghan Markle, Katie Couric, Brooke Shields and Nancy Wang Yuen at SXSW on March 8, 2024

SXSW/Youtube

Errin Haines, Meghan Markle, Katie Couric, Brooke Shields and Nancy Wang Yuen at SXSW on March 8, 2024

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On Thursday, a report funded by Meghan and Harry's Archewell Foundation was released with Moms First and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media analyzing the portrayals of mothers in the media.

"My past experience as an actress, and now today as a producer and mother, have amplified my belief in the critical importance of supporting women and moms both behind the lens and in front of it," Meghan said in a statement, according to Vanity Fairwhich was first to report the news. "This report about the portrayal of mothers in entertainment highlights the gaps we need to fill to achieve true representation in the content we create and consume, and I’m honored to support this work through the Archewell Foundation."

<p>SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty </p> Meghan Markle at SXSW in Austin on March 8, 2024

SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty

Meghan Markle at SXSW in Austin on March 8, 2024

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