Thousands of little kids for dozens of years have stared at their television screens, wishing to be like the people “staring” back at them. Whether it be a celebrity dancing or a man walking on the moon, kids have looked up to these figures and have wanted to have the same profession as them when they grow up. Many times the individuals seen on these programs in “powerful” positions, such as government leadership, are men. This trend was evident for hundreds of years, until the presidential election of 2020. Kamala Harris is the first-ever female, Black, and Asian-American Vice Presidential-elect in the history of the United States. Harris, while she has been the first woman for many things, knows she will not be the last. In her acceptance speech, Harris acknowledged the young girls watching and said, “Every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”(1) This pioneer for women’s rights is paving the way for young women of the future and revolutionizing the American government into one where women are in leadership positions.
Kamala Harris has been a trailblazer in getting opportunities for women throughout her career.(2) Before solidifying her career choice, Harris’ family voiced the concern that the work she would do in her profession may put her in a bad light; despite her family’s worries, she continued in law because she truly wanted to help reform the broken system from within. As district attorney in San Francisco, Vice President-elect Harris helped reduce teenage prostitution in the area and change the labels placed on these young women from “criminals” to “victims”. In 2010, Harris became both the first female and African-American attorney general of California. Few believed that she would win the race for California attorney general, as she was a minority that was running against a well-known white male; she won the race by less than one percentage point. One of Harris’s most significant accomplishments during her time as attorney general was her creation of Open Justice– an online platform that gives the public access to criminal justice data which helped police increase accountability for the number of deaths and injuries they were responsible for. Six years later, in 2016, Harris became the first Indian-American woman to be elected into the United States Senate when she defeated Democrat Loretta Sanches (who had over twenty years of experience). During this time as a member of the Senate, Vice President-elect Harris gained quite a following after impressing the public with her quick and firm questioning during the 2017 Russia investigation and the 2018 Mueller investigation (3); her supporters began calling themselves the “KHive”, a name similar to Beyoncé’s fans, the “Beyhive.” After an already successful career, Kamala Harris was selected by Joe Biden to be his Vice President. Regardless of her political beliefs, it is undeniable that the amount that Kamala Harris has accomplished as a minority and as a woman is remarkable.
The presence of a woman in the American government was long-awaited, much needed, and is inspiring young women today. A woman in a position of power in the American government is exceptional and is going to change the future of America politically and socially. This enormous breakthrough in gender stereotypes shows how America as a nation is advancing and becoming more aware of gender equality. Junior Malvina DiMitri quotes, “I think it’s important to break gender stereotypes but that’s not to say I agree with everything she does. Kamala Harris will go down in history as an important figure in American history and will inspire many young girls to dream bigger.” Harris is showing young women across the nation that women can accomplish anything men can, and that a girl is not limited in any regard simply because of her gender. “Young girls across the country are empowered by Kamala Harris. Women are now going to have true representation in the national government that is not like anything we’ve had before. She will offer fresh perspectives not only in terms of policy but also in making young girls aware that they too can do anything,” Basi Woldenberg, 11th grade, explains. It is undeniable that Kamala Harris’ influence as vice president will impact the future tremendously and empower today’s youth. The barriers Vice President-elect Harris is breaking today will help form an even better future for America.
“That’s why breaking those barriers is worth it. As much as anything else, it is also to create that path for those who will come after us.” – Vice President-elect Kamala Harris