Prince Harry attends Girl Summit, says ‘it cannot just be women who speak up for girls’

Prince Harry attends Girl Summit, says ‘it cannot just be women who speak up for girls’

Prince Harry just ended his tour of Nepal. I’ll cover other parts of his tour later, but I wanted to specifically talk about his speech at the Nepal Girl Summit 2016 in Kathmandu on March 23. Harry spoke out acknowledging the challenges that plague women and girls across the globe, and lent his voice to that call for more access to education.

Prince Harry Girls Summit 1
[Kensington Palace @KensingtonRoyal]

Harry attended the Nepal Girl Summit with Nepal’s president, Bidhya Devi Bhandari – the first female and second ever president of Nepal. Harry’s speech in full:

    “I am delighted to have the opportunity of opening this event alongside President Bhandari. Madam President, you have championed the opportunities for women and girls in Nepal for many years and it is a privilege to share this stage with you today.
    “Over the last decade, I have been hugely inspired by working alongside those striving to help young people achieve their full potential, sometimes in very difficult circumstances. My charity Sentebale has helped thousands of children access education and healthcare in Lesotho, Southern Africa. Closer to home, in Nottingham, England, I have seen first hand the transformational effect of even the smallest opportunity in keeping a child away from gangs, keeping them in school, and on track to a more fulfilling and prosperous life.
    “While the unique challenges faced by girls is not a topic I have spoken much about in the past, I think it’s important to acknowledge something that has become obvious to me and is already known to everyone in this room: there are way too many obstacles between girls and the opportunities they deserve.
    “Whether it’s a girl in Lesotho living with HIV; or the talented young woman in Britain who doesn’t get taken seriously because of where she grew up; or the 14 year old girl forced out of school so she can get married here in Nepal; we need to acknowledge that so many countries and cultures are failing to protect the opportunities of young women and girls in the way they do for boys.
    “I believe it is vitally important for men like me to acknowledge this as loudly and openly as role models do like President Bhandari, the US First Lady Michelle Obama and activists like Malala. As the First Lady has said, change needs to come from the bottom up. We won’t unlock these opportunities for young women and girls unless we can change the mindset of every family and community. To achieve this, it cannot just be women who speak up for girls.
    “So let’s be open about some of the challenges facing young women.
    “Globally, 62 million girls are not getting the education they deserve. Two thirds of the nearly 800 million people who were never taught to read and write are women. Around the world, more than 700 million women alive today were married as children and nearly 250 million of them were married before the age of 15.
    “Here in Nepal, nearly half of all women who are today in their twenties, thirties and forties were married before their eighteenth birthdays. And a little under half gave birth while still in their teens.
    “It may be obvious to say it, but girls who marry young stay at home. They don’t finish school. And they soon become locked in a cycle of illiteracy, poverty, ill health and, ultimately, powerlessness.
    “How can this cycle be broken? We all know what the answer is – education.
    “Improved access to education can transform lives, families, communities and ultimately entire countries. When girls finish their schooling, they gain skills, knowledge and confidence – in short; they are empowered to improve their lives and the lives of everyone around them.
    “I recognise that each country must find its own path; and that here in Nepal, this is a complex social challenge. But it is one that the Government is tackling and is making progress in its hope of ending child marriage by 2030; it has fallen by 10% over the last decade and the practice is now banned by law. Therefore the focus can now turn toward enforcement and education.
    “Female leadership in Nepal now sets a powerful example, with women occupying the roles of President and Speaker. But the biggest reason for our optimism are the inspiring girls and boys in this room who care so much about changing attitudes towards young women in this country.
    “I am proud to stand with you today.”


“I believe it is vitally important for men like me to acknowledge this as loudly and openly… it cannot just be women who speak up for girls.” Oh, Harry, you had lost me there for the past three months, but you just wormed your way back into my heart.

Harry has never shown any sort of interest in issues facing women in particular, so I hope this isn’t a one-off. I hope Harry does more to support women and girls in the future.

Prince Harry Girls Summit 2
[Kensington Palace @KensingtonRoyal]

The Nepal Girl Summit was co-hosted by UNICEF and the Government of Nepal’s Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (MoWCSW) with the goal of building on the Government of Nepal’s commitment to end child marriage by 2030. As well as reconfirming the Government of Nepal’s commitment to end child marriage, the summit engaged young people about how to change social norms around child marriage and dowry related practices.

In Nepal it is estimated that over 1.3 million adolescent girls are at risk of being married as children. Almost a quarter of women ages 15-19 are already married, while nearly half of those age 20-49 were married before their 18th birthday.

Child marriage is a serious violation of a girl’s human rights, denying her voice, choice and control, robbing her of the right to choose her own future and putting her at greater risk of dropping out of school and dying through early childbirth.

You can read more here.

Prince Harry Girls Summit 3
[Kensington Palace @KensingtonRoyal]

Harry viewed one of the workshops of artwork created by young women.

KP announced at the end of Harry’s tour that he will stay in Nepal for six more days to help the earthquake relief work being done by Team Rubicon UK. From KP:

    “For the next week, Prince Harry will be embedded with a group of Team Rubicon volunteers in a remote village to help with the reconstruction of a new school destroyed by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake of April 2015. The team will trek into the mountains to an earthquake-affected area in Central Nepal, with their own equipment to assist the local community in all aspects of repairing and rebuilding their school. […]
    “Speaking at a UK Embassy Reception marking the end of his official tour to Nepal, Prince Harry said: ‘The people I have met and the beauty of this country make it very hard to leave. Thankfully however, I’m not leaving just yet! I will be spending the next six days in a remote region with a charity called Team Rubicon. The team I’m joining will be working with the community to rebuild a school damaged in the earthquake. I’m so grateful to have this opportunity at the end of my official tour to do my small bit to help.’ […]
    “Prince Harry will spend the next week camping in the mountains with his fellow volunteers and will play a full role in the support project. He will return to the UK at the end of the month.”

[press release]

Wow. Harry really is dedicated to helping out. It’s still shocking to me just how much of a better royal Harry is than his brother.

37 thoughts on “Prince Harry attends Girl Summit, says ‘it cannot just be women who speak up for girls’

  1. A great tour from Harry, greet speeches. He uses his function in order to help others, to make light about issues.
    That I love in him is that he is not patronizing (condescendant) about other cultures, he doesn’t mock them, he respect cultures.
    I love the photos where he is weighed down by the amount of the scarfs.
    It’s good that he stays in Nepal : he can help to build the school, he can discover more and more Nepal.

    I love the reaction of Nepalese people : very content, happy to see him. There is a photo where some person carry a pancart with this message :
    H :Humble
    A :Adorable
    R : Respectful
    R: Real
    Y : Young Man

    I don’t even want to speak about William in this post.

  2. It seems that there is an issue of the number of engagements by the CC : they forgot some events according to “”

    I think that the system of CC must be changed : I don’t understand why some events (birthing, travel) are counted, some have not. It must be an independant organism which counted.

  3. Keep it up Prince Harry!He has a genuineness to him.He’s actually extending his trip to Nepal to help rebuild a school damaged by the earthquake.

  4. Harry continues to amaze me. He cares enough to stay 6 more days to help rebuild a school. He seems to be for real. I had not read about his speech on behalf of females. Thank you.

  5. Rhiannon, are you OK after this great post?
    No flops I hope?
    I know I’ve said it before, your man is doing you proud.
    Thanks to Harry for walking the talk and for staying longer to help with the school.
    I do like that he has turned the spotlight on a number of issues during this trip
    This is what happens when there is great planning and also the key person is paying attention beforehand and also paying attention during the trip.
    I think that at this point Harry is the British Royal family’s best asset.

  6. I am a huge Harry fan, and this trip has sent my adoration for him off the charts. I love that he spoke out for education for girls, and that he’s extending his trip to help rebuild the school. I love that he gets his hands dirty, literally, for causes he believes in. I’m not even a Brit yet I feel so proud of him.

  7. When people defend William and Kate they always say that “they’re not working too hard because it’s their job to do less than Charles and Camilla”. But the same people ignore that Harry works harder than both of them. Not working hard is an easy achievement.

  8. The difference between Harry and his brother is that Harry cares, isn’t afraid to show it, is willing to do the work and to learn about what he is working on. He is open to people when he needs to be and obviously cares about what he’s doing.

    The brother, not so much of any of the above. He knocked this trip out of the park and his speech was excellent. I too hope he continues his work with the issues facing women and girls. Someone in the BRF needs to.

    1. I think William never really has his head in the game. He is too busy plotting and scheming against the media and anyone he is frustrated with at the moment.

      Harry pays attention, actively listens, leans in and lets people know they are important.

  9. On KP’s twitter there are photos from Harry about his trip with his observations : look at them! It’ s so much better news that William in Kenya

    Nepal is so beautiful

  10. I am so glad to see that Harry spoke up about this very important issue. It does seem that he is going from strength to strength and maturing into a wonderful man. And how great that he’s extending his time Nepal to help rebuild a school in a remote village! It’s awesome to see a royal man who is aware of the privileges extended to him but instead of becoming a playboy prince he’s using his unique platform to better the lives of others.

    My only issue with this trip to Nepal is that lack of media coverage. I mean god forbid if Kate had appeared in public while Harry was on tour, we would have been inundated with days of fashion articles instead of hearing about all the wonderful things Harry has done. I really wish the media would focus more on those who are working hard instead of those who are hardly working.

  11. Bravo Harry! And I agree that this Nepal trip requires more media coverage and attention to the plight of the Nepalese people who are still hurting and suffering but showing great resilience, after the massive earthquake last year.

    1. So we’re talking about the William and Kate Need Another Vacation charity they are working on behalf of? I’m expecting a Go Fund Me page to pop up soon.

      1. Ha! But you know they’ll just take whatever funds they want out of their Royal Foundation. You know, the way they funded their visit to NYC in December 2014.

  12. Prince Harry’s speech was wonderful. Straight from the heart. He had a mother who cared about people and worked to make sure that many important issues she cared about were brought to the world’s attention. I think she would be very proud of her youngest son. He must have loved her and valued her for the incredible woman she was.

    Harry should be King.. No doubt about that.

  13. He has spoken out on women’s rights once before in a video message for Chime for Change. Parts of his speech were later used in the #HeforShe campaign. It’s not a one-off, but yes it would be great if he’d talk about it more in the coming years. I’m very happy and not surprised he planned to stay in Nepal for a few more days to do some real hands-on work.

  14. Gosh he’s awesome. You have to wonder why he and William are SO different. Just personality?

    Sir Patrick Stewart talks a lot about how men need to speak up for women (his platform is domestic abuse). I’m sooooo glad to see someone like Harry taking up such a position.

  15. Harry for King! He is everything will and Kate are not and more. Diana would be so proud. He is her legacy. Way to lead, Harry!

  16. I am so proud of my beloved Harry. I’ve watched this trip closely and amazed. He conducted himself as he always does by putting his heart into the trip. Harry has high emotional intelligence and isn’t afraid to show it. His speech on girls was wonderful. I hope he continues with this narrative.

    He’s proven that he is more than a prince. He’s a good guy who is trying to put some good in the world. He’s using his stage in a wonderful way. He’s more than just a spare.

    KMR, thanks for making my Friday!

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