Meghan Markle Speaks Out on National Need for Child Care: ‘Working Moms Are Asked to Shoulder So Much’ – PEOPLE

meghan-markle-speaks-out-on-national-need-for-child-care:-‘working-moms-are-asked-to-shoulder-so-much’-–-people

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The mom of two said "creating a stronger workforce starts with meeting the needs of families"

On Wednesday, the Duchess of Sussex shined a spotlight on the child care crisis in the U.S. — and how it's not a family issue but a business issue.

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Meghan has joined the Marshall Plan for Moms in announcing a "National Business Coalition for Child Care," that includes Meghan and Prince Harry's Archewell Foundation, with the aim of expanding child care support for workers. The Marshall Plan for Moms is a movement to center mothers in the country's economic recovery by advocating for policies that support moms.

"Families everywhere, and especially working moms, are asked to shoulder so much," Meghan, 40, said in a statement. "This has only been heightened by the pandemic, with increased caregiving responsibilities, rising prices, and economic uncertainty."

"As it's been said many times, it takes a village to raise a child," the mom of Archie, 3, and Lilibet, who turns 1 next month, added. "Today, we're sending a message that childcare isn't just a community imperative — it's a business imperative. Creating a stronger workforce starts with meeting the needs of families." 

Marshall Plan for Moms was among a number of organizations that received donations in late 2021 from Meghan and Harry's Archewell Foundation, it was announced when the family released their Christmas card. The card marked the first time the Duke and Duchess of Sussex released a family photo after welcoming daughter Lilibet.

"This year, 2021, we welcomed our daughter, Lilibet, to the world. Archie made us a 'Mama' and a 'Papa', and Lili made us a family," they said in the card. "As we look forward to 2022, we have made donations on your behalf to several organizations that honor and protect families – from those being relocated from Afghanistan, to American families in need of paid parental leave."

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in The Netherlands in April 2022

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

| Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage

"Over the past 20 months, the pandemic has exposed long-existing fault lines in our communities," she wrote. "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."

Noting that the American dream has over time become less about prosperity and more about achieving simple stability, she continues: "I grew up on the $4.99 salad bar at Sizzler—it may have cost less back then (to be honest, I can't remember)—but what I do remember was the feeling: I knew how hard my parents worked to afford this because even at five bucks, eating out was something special, and I felt lucky."

Harry and Archie moments

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Archie

| Credit: DOMINIC LIPINSKI/AFP via Getty

Meghan noted that her backstory is like so many others' — but her current circumstance (and the freedom of financial stability) is what set her apart from an average American parent's experience. This disparity, she believes, is a problem with the way the country treats its parents. It's

"In June, my husband and I welcomed our second child. Like any parents, we were overjoyed. Like many parents, we were overwhelmed. 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 said.

She and Harry, 37, both took 20 weeks of parental leave, in line with the policies of their Archewell Foundation.

"We knew we could take her home," wrote Meghan, "and in that vital (and sacred) stage, devote any and everything to our kids and to our family.  We knew that by doing so we wouldn't have to make impossible choices about childcare, work, and medical care that so many have to make every single day."

While acknowledging the "politically charged" nature of this conversation, Meghan said, "This isn't about Right or Left, it's about right or wrong. This is about putting families above politics."

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, holding their son Archie

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Archie

| Credit: Henk Kruger/AP/Shutterstock

Meghan and Prince Harry announced last week that they are visiting the U.K. with their two children to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee next month.

The trip will be the first time Lili, who was born in California last year, will visit her dad's homeland. She'll likely even celebrate her first birthday on June 4 during the trip.

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