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Meghan Markle visiting ActionAid, a nonprofit that supports women and children, in South Africa in 2019. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Meghan Markle has added her voice to the growing chorus of celebrities, labor advocates and ordinary working parents asking for paid leave for caregiving.

In a letter Thursday to House Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, the Duchess of Sussex expressed concern about the country’s economic systems, which are “past their expiration date” and force families to choose between earning a living and taking care of children or loved ones.

“The pandemic has exposed long-existing fault lines in our communities,” said Markle, who described herself in the letter as an “engaged citizen” and a mom. “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.”

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The working mom or parent, she went on, “is facing the conflict of being present or being paid. The sacrifice of either comes at a great cost.”

Markle acknowledged that her own experience in June of welcoming a second child (daughter Lilibet, with husband Prince Harry) is different than most because of privilege. 

“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.”

Markle urged leaders to join countless countries around the world by putting a national paid leave policy in place. “On behalf of all families, I ask you to ensure this consequential moment is not lost,” she wrote.

After the letter was released, numerous advocates and organizations voiced support on social media, including Reshma Saujani, founder of  the Marshall Plan for Moms. 

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