“I’m not an elected official, and I’m not a politician,” she wrote. “I am, like many, an engaged citizen and a parent. And because you and your congressional colleagues have a role in shaping family outcomes for generations to come, that’s why I’m writing to you at this deeply important time—as a mom—to advocate for paid leave.
“Over the past 20 months, the pandemic has exposed long-existing fault lines in our communities,” Markle continued, addressing Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
“At an alarming rate, millions of women dropped out of the workforce, staying home with their kids as schools and daycares were closed, and looking after loved ones full-time. The working mom or parent is facing the conflict of being present or being paid. The sacrifice of either comes at a great cost.”
In the letter, Meghan acknowledges her privilege - the Duchess of Sussex, alongside her husband, Prince Harry, was able to take 20 weeks of parental leave following the birth of their daughter Lilibet.
“Like any parents, we were overjoyed. Like many parents, we were overwhelmed,” Markle wrote. “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.”
She continued: “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).”
Markle also cited Estonia as an example of a nation with a comprehensive leave plan, granting parents a year-and-a-half of leave after the birth of a child.
“The United States, in stark contrast, does not federally guarantee any person a single day of paid leave. And fewer than one in four workers has dedicated paid family leave through their employer. I’m sure you agree that if we are to continue to be exceptional, then we can’t be the exception.”
The Duchess signed off the letter on behalf of herself, Archie, Lili, Harry and “on behalf of all families.”
“I ask you to ensure this consequential moment is not lost.”