The Duchess of Sussex released a new video (with the help of comedian Melissa McCarthy) on the Archewell Foundation website she shares with husband Prince Harry on Wednesday to announce 40x40, "a global effort encouraging people around the world to commit to giving 40 minutes of their time to support women going back to work," her office said in a statement.
"For my birthday, I have asked 40 friends, activists, athletes, artists, and world leaders to help kickoff a global effort by contributing 40 MINUTES OF MENTORSHIP to support women re-entering the workforce," Meghan added on the site. "With this time, I hope they each help someone advance a professional life on her own terms, and, I hope that they inspire countless others to give 40 minutes of their time as well."
For more on Meghan Markle's 40th birthday and other top stories, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.
Prince Harry's cousin Princess Eugenie shared the initiative on her Instagram story, writing, "To celebrate dear Meghan's 40th birthday I'm contributing 40 minutes of mentorship to support women reentering the workforce." Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter added a colorful "Happy Birthday" sticker as well as an image of a cartoon of a cute figure with a birthday hat.
Princess Eugenie/ instagram
Celebrities also took up the cause, with Hillary Clinton, Sarah Paulson, Ciara, Gabrielle Union, Diana Award CEO Tessy Ojo, Katie Couric, Deepak Chopra and Sofia Carson among those who posted about their support on social media.
According to the Duchess's office, other participants who have committed to the cause include Adele, Amanda Gorman, Amanda Nguyen, Ibram X. Kendi, Gloria Steinem, José Andrés, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, Oscar de la Renta's creative director Fernando Garcia and Stella McCartney.
Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!
The statement explains that the initiative "is being spurred in response to the tens of millions of women around the world who have left the workforce in the past two years (largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic), including two million women in the U.S. As women continue to reenter the workforce, we believe that mentorship is one way to help women regain confidence and rebuild their economic strength."