“And to the children of our country, regardless of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message: Dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourself in a way that others might not see you, simply because they’ve never seen it before. And we will applaud you every step of the way.” _ Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris defied all odds to become the first female vice-president in American history. A journey of many years, a feat tried by many – has now become achievable to other young girls around the world – thanks to Kamala Harris.
The world has become more diverse and integrated over the years. Dreams that would seem unrealistic decades ago are now the new standard as societal and ideological barriers are being broken.
From the women suffrage rights of the 19th and early 20th centuries to the women’s liberation movement of the 60s and neo-movements for the recognition and equality of the gender, it has taken many steps for women to get to where they are today. However, there are still barriers.
Objective evidence indicates that ethnic minorities and women continue to be under-represented in the ranks of senior executives and other power-broking cabals.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics’ occupational employment study (2012), “Women, African Americans, and Hispanics were all underrepresented in management roles compared to their population representation.” This is a similar case in many countries of the world.
However, since the election of former President Barrack Obama in 2008, people of colour and diverse ethnic groups began to dream bigger and given opportunities to serve in top government offices. Consequently, the win of Kamal Harris equals bigger dreams for young girls and a message that all can win even in diversity.
These wins will usher in a definite change in statistics of growth for all women and girls of colour.
Kamala Harris started her political journey as a district attorney in 2004. She had previously served in the U.S. Senate from 2017 to 2020. Kamala also served as attorney general of California from 2011 to 2017.
In 2010, she was narrowly elected attorney general of California, winning by a margin of less than 1 per cent, thus becoming the first female and the first African American to hold the post.
After taking office the following year, she demonstrated political independence. She did not bow to pressure from the administration of President Barack Obama to squash a lawsuit against mortgage lenders for unfair practices.
Rather, she pressed California’s case further till 2012 and won a judgment five times higher than that originally offered. Her refusal to defend Proposition 8 (2008), which banned same-sex marriage in the state-aided the overturning of the law in 2013.
When she took office in January 2017, Harris became the first Indian American in the Senate and just the second Black woman in the United States Congress.
Four years later, she adds another feather to her cap. She is now the first coloured female Vice President in America. A feat that could have been considered impossible some years back.
Harris is not just bringing beauty to the table as a winner – she’s bringing in brain – from her experience and a wealth of knowledge big enough for the president to draw from.
“She’ll bring a justice lens, a racial justice lens, racial equity, to everything and every policy and every decision that’s going to be made,” Barbara Lee, a Democrat representing of California said.
“That’s so important, to have a Black woman, a South Asian woman’s perspective, on the big issues that this administration has to tackle.”
With women at the helms in governments, politics and activism, it becomes encouraging for all women and young girls that no height is unattainable once they set their minds to reach their goal. Now, Kamala Harris stands on the shoulder of all women in the world – as the face of equality, equity and justice.
Women should hope for a better future in politics, aspiring and contesting for top positions with a resilient spirit. A win for Kamal Harris has become a win for every woman and girl-child.
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