Meghan, the Duchess of SussexMeghan MarkleHarry and Meghan join celeb-filled vaccine equity event Royal family supports BLM movement, senior representative says Culture editor Emily Jashinsky says groups like Time's Up pose conflicts of interest MORE, is marking her 40th birthday by launching a 40-themed mentorship initiative for women reentering the workforce.
"In the past two years, and in large part because of the COVID-19 pandemic, tens of millions of women around the world have left the workforce, including over two million women in the U.S.," Meghan wrote in a Wednesday message on the Archewell Foundation website.
"I believe mentorship is one way to help women regain confidence and rebuild their economic strength, and for my birthday, I have asked 40 friends, activists, athletes, artists, and world leaders to help kickoff a global effort by contributing 40 minutes of mentorship to support women re-entering the workforce," she said.
Meghan, announced the "40x40" effort, in partnership with the YWCA, in a lighthearted video with comedian Melissa McCarthy.
When Meghan tells McCarthy she has an idea for her 40th birthday, "Thunder Force" star McCarthy throws out a number of comical guesses of what it could be.
"Is it another photo shoot under a tree, where you're looking very peaceful?" McCarthy asks, ribbing the former "Suits" actor, born Meghan MarkleMeghan MarkleHarry and Meghan join celeb-filled vaccine equity event Royal family supports BLM movement, senior representative says Culture editor Emily Jashinsky says groups like Time's Up pose conflicts of interest MORE, over a photo released as part of her pregnancy announcement earlier this year. Her daughter, Lilibet, was born in June.
"Yacht party! Who's ready for a yacht?" McCarthy then suggests.
"Because I'm turning 40, I'm asking 40 friends to donate 40 minutes of their time to help mentor a woman who's mobilizing back into the workforce," Meghan explains.
"I think if we all do it, and all commit 40 minutes in some sort of act of service, we can create a ripple effect," she added.
Voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams and Katie Couric were among those who promoted Meghan's campaign on Wednesday:
To celebrate the 40th birthday of my friend Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, I’m donating 40 minutes of mentorship to a woman reentering the workforce. Commit 40 minutes to service or mentorship today, and we can help ignite a wave of change. https://t.co/3RBH4bB4LS #40x40 pic.twitter.com/GZPgA8Quzo— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) August 4, 2021
I am thrilled to support Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, on her 40th birthday by donating 40 minutes of service to help support women reentering the workforce. If you can, please join me and commit 40 minutes to community service or mentorship. Happy Birthday, Meghan! #40x40 pic.twitter.com/Sawmt2OR40— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) August 4, 2021
In the statement on her website, Meghan wrote that "time is among our greatest and most essential gifts."
"If you are able," she said, "please join us and pledge 40 minutes today in service of others in the way that feels right to you."
—Updated at 5:13 p.m.