Duchess Meghan’s senior aide has also been lobbying for paid family leave

meghan dealbook2

The Duchess of Sussex feels strongly about paid family leave. In October, she wrote an open letter to senators in support of the issue, and she’s been working with PL + US for months now, actively lobbying and cold-calling Republican senators. All of which has caused a series of hilarious meltdowns from the British press, because “paid family leave” is apparently a hyper-political issue and not a basic, common-sense solution for struggling families. That’s not all though: one of Archewell’s senior strategic advisor Genevieve Roth has also been lobbying and supporting efforts on behalf of pro-paid leave groups.

A top adviser to the Duchess of Sussex has been privately helping the behind-the-scenes effort to pass universal paid leave legislation — with one of the groups she consults for engaging in talks with the White House. Genevieve Roth who runs Invisible Hand, a “social impact and culture change agency,” is a senior strategic adviser for the Archewell Foundation, Markle and Prince Harry’s charitable organization. Roth has also been working with PL+US, a nonprofit advocacy group campaigning for universal paid leave to be included in the social spending package, aka Build Back Better, that Democrats are hoping to pass through budget reconciliation this month.

PL+US, along with the group Paid Leave for All, have been in touch with the White House and members of Congress, according to a Democratic strategist with close ties to the White House. That includes calls and emails with JENNIFER KLEIN, co-chair of the White House Gender Policy Council, and staffers at the Office of Public Engagement.

“I can confirm that we have collaborated with her [Roth] and the Duchess’s team on the issue of paid leave, but I can’t go beyond that,” PL+US spokesman NEIL SROKA said.

The White House didn’t respond to questions about whether Markle has had any meetings or calls with officials about paid leave. Neither did Roth.

… The advocacy groups aren’t giving up hope [even though PFL seems to be dead in the Senate]. Biden 2020 campaign pollster CELINDA LAKE appeared in a Zoom meeting for PL+US with reporters today, where she said that the absence of paid leave in the final Build Back Better law would send a devastating message to women voters in the midterms.

“It’s not a secret. It’s not a novel finding that Democrats are having trouble breaking through on messaging. I think the major message … to the elected officials is, ‘this is a huge missed opportunity in an area we need,’” Lake said. “We desperately need to define what is in these packages. We desperately need to convince voters to tune into what we’re doing and that what we are doing delivers for them and their families.”

[From Politico]

I mean… Celinda Lake seems to be putting this at the feet of Democrats who already support the paid family leave expansion. She seems to be saying: if only dumb Dems could come up with a better catchphrase, magically Sen. Manchin would come to Jesus. Arguing that Democratic women won’t show up for Democrats in the midterms because Republicans and right-wing Dems are kneecapping PFL is the emptiest of threats. That’s not how any of this works. Meghan knows that’s not how it works either, which is why her people are working behind-the-scenes, all while Meghan refuses to back down from her public position supporting PFL. Meghan is doing the right thing politically – I’m not sure everyone on Team Paid Family Leave is on the same page though.


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10 Responses to “Duchess Meghan’s senior aide has also been lobbying for paid family leave”

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  1. Elizabeth Regina says:

    The Duchess of Impact. Love her tenacity.

    • Miranda says:

      “Tenacity” is a very good word for her. And she pairs it with intelligence and compassion, and provides an excellent example of how to weaponize privilege in a positive way. I’m already 30, but dammit, I wanna be Meghan when I grow up!

  2. Mac says:

    Celinda Lake is telling Democrats to talk about the issue in a way that is appealing to white Republican women to get Collins and Murkowski to cross the line.

    P.S. I was in a meeting with her in 1996 and she was telling Dems they needed to get on this issue.

    • ML says:

      I find this so frustrating! In Europe, it’s is a given that pregnant people should be able to take time off around birth and after their child is born, and in many countries their partner is also able to take time off to bond with their child. It should just be a nonissue.
      I’m just not sure how you phrase a human right in a way that resonates with politicians who don’t believe in them. Somehow depending on Manchin, Collins and Murkowski to do the right thing is depressing. What kind of language gets through to these senators?

      • Emma says:

        Those three only believe in money. They don’t actually have opposing principles since that would require them to have any principles at all.

      • Alarmjaguar says:

        They are a bunch of hypocrites so who knows. Watching the conservative Supreme Court justices get ready to gut abortion rights while conservatives in Congress do nothing to help pregnant women or children who exist in the world is absolutely maddening. Their stance is about controlling women and has nothing to do with what’s actually good for citizens and society.

    • Eurydice says:

      Well, that’s part of it – but I think she’s also saying that the White House needs to be more specific about what is in the package. These bills tend to be appropriations of giant chunks of money that then go to committees, which then determine how the money will be allocated. That money doesn’t always go to where you think it’s going to go. This has been problematic for many in the Democratic party, including the progressive wing. They need to know that what they’re fighting for and voting for will actually happen.

  3. Tangerinetree says:

    Meghan, and now Archewell, is so consistent in her values. Supporting PFL policy is good for Everyone. Thank you, Meghan and Genevieve Roth!

  4. Sofia says:

    I really do love how she’s sticking to this and doing everything she can in order to have it pass through senate.

  5. L4frimaire says:

    I don’t understand this blurb and what the angle is. My first reaction is …And?