Meghan and Gloria Steinem discuss voter suppression ahead of US election
The Duchess of Sussex has told US rights activist Gloria Steinem that she is “really concerned” about voter suppression, ahead of the forthcoming US election.
Meghan and the author recorded a Q&A session for the feminist media platform Makers, in which they also discussed gender equality and female representation.
In the black and white footage which was released on Wednesday, the duchess and Steinem sat socially distanced in garden chairs, separated by a low wooden table, for what was described as a “backyard chat”.
At the start of the clip, Steinem told Meghan: “Meg. Welcome home. I’m so glad that you’re home.”
Meghan replied: “Me too, for so many reasons.”
The duchess said that the coronavirus pandemic had given people a “moment of reset (and) to re-evaluate what actually matters”.
“I think it’s often forgotten how women like you and so many others before you fought for us to just be where we are right now,” she said.
“If you don’t vote, you don’t exist, it is the only place we’re all equal, the voting booth,” Steinem replied, admitting she was also worried about voter turnout.
“I’ve been really concerned about voter suppression,” Meghan said.
“We can already see all the different challenges that we’re facing…for example, if you’re a person of colour and you’re in line, for potentially hours on end, and during that time someone tries to intimidate you to tell you that you should get out of line because you might be under surveillance, or any number of intimidation tactics, that are so scary.
“And then you think, ‘You know, it’s not worth it’. You decide to step out of line and relinquish your right to vote.
“That’s bad enough, but then there’s a ripple effect because whoever is in the back of the line says, ‘Whatever they did to them…I don’t want that to happen to me’.
“That, I think, is so frightening. But I wonder how we circumvent that and how we get people to feel empowered.”
“Just people hearing you say that will help them be better prepared for it,” Steinem reassured her.
Former Suits star Meghan returned to the US after she and the Duke of Sussex quit their lives as a senior working royals in March amid the Megxit crisis.
The duchess’s dogs, Guy the beagle and Pula the labrador, also made an entrance and sat at Meghan’s feet.
The duchess last week took part in a virtual When All Women Vote event to encourage women to vote in the US election, saying: “We all know what’s at stake this year.”
Meghan, who has indicated she will vote herself, had, before becoming a member of the royal family, described US president Donald Trump as “divisive” and a “misogynist”.
Members of the royal family traditionally do not vote, and the Queen is politically neutral.
Although UK law does not ban royalty from voting, it is considered unconstitutional for them to do so.
Meghan also expressed her admiration for Steinem’s work in fighting for gender equality, saying that the Duke of Sussex was keen to show himself as a feminist.
“I love that when he just came in he said, ‘You know that I’m a feminist too, right Gloria? It’s really important to me that you know that’,” she said.
“That was wonderful,” Steinem replied.