Meghan Markle's response to being called an "ambitious" woman is perfect

Why is it framed as a bad thing?

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Why is it framed as a bad thing?

It's always been acceptable for men to be seen outwardly as driven where success is concerned, but the same can't always be said for women. Somewhat sadly, there seems to be an undertone of negativity whenever a female is described as "ambitious" - as if it makes her, by virtue, cut-throat or heartless.

But isn't it about time we reframed our view of ambition in women? Meghan Markle certainly thinks so, and she wasn't hesitant to share her thoughts on the matter recently.

Speaking in her first in-person interview since her controversial sit-down with Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry back in March, Meghan was asked how it felt to be described as an "ambitious" woman. Her response was frank - and it hit the nail on the head.

"Why is it, culturally, we are equipping girls and women to think that if you are ambitious, it is a negative thing?" Meghan told the New York Times’ DealBook summit. "But for a boy or a man it is an incredibly positive thing. It is a troubling thing."

The Duchess of Sussex went on to add that 'ambition' had become a "trigger word" for a lot of people. "There is nothing wrong with women talking about success, ambition, or financial prowess," she said.

Meghan speaks for most women on the issue, but it's perhaps a particularly personal subject for her, considering all the negativity she has experienced since becoming a member of the royal family - in part due to a misconceived 'ambition' of hers. There appears to be a perception among a small, cynical group of people that, because Meghan had been an actress prior to her relationship with Prince Harry, her motivation for marrying into royalty was not solely due to love - but also for social status.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

It goes without saying that Meghan and Harry's relationship is clearly genuine. But for the Duchess of Sussex, it's been a fairly constant uphill battle ever since - and the bitter trolling she's received along the way has impacted her mental health significantly. In the interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan confessed she "just didn't want to be alive anymore." It was a "very clear and real and frightening constant thought," she bravely shared.

Meghan Markle is ambitious; she wants to reach as many people as possible with messages she believes to be important. So let's start embracing the word 'ambition' for women, and stop lambasting any female who's proud to be driven towards something they care about, shall we?

Catriona Harvey-Jenner

Cat is a Senior Editor at Marie Claire, covering news and features across the brand's key purpose pillars, including women's issues, politics, career, mental health, female empowerment and equality, as well as books.