Courtesy of the United States Senate
There haven’t been many days in 2020 where I am extremely proud to be a woman. Saturday, I had one of those days.
Kamala Harris is the Vice President elect of the United States. She is the first woman, the first Black person, and the first person of Asian descent to hold this office.
If you’ve read any of my columns before, you know that I am a feminist obsessed with politics. I’ve written about AOC, femininity, Harvey Weinstein and most recently, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
This is the article I wanted to write in 2016. The article that could have been written in 2012. An article that should have been written many years ago, but I am happy to write it today.
It’s hard to imagine your career goals when you’ve never seen someone who looks like you achieve them. How do I imagine what my life as the Vice President would look like if I’ve never seen a woman hold that position? How do young Black girls imagine their careers when they’ve never seen a Black person, much less a Black woman, in those positions? How about young Indian girls? The answer is most of them don’t. Girls aren’t taught they can be politicians.
Growing up, I was told I could be anything and do anything I wanted to do. But how can I even see it as a possibility when no one like me has ever done it before?
For some women, like Kamala Harris, it’s a motivator to take those leaps. But for most women, it makes it feel like an impossibility.
Kamala Harris has opened the door. Kamala Harris smashed the glass ceiling. She has raised herself higher than any woman ever before in this country’s leadership. Higher than Nancy Pelosi. Higher than Hillary Clinton. Her election is meaningful for every single woman in America. Politics aside, Harris is paving the way for all women.
While, as a woman, this is meaningful to me, I can never imagine what it’s like for women of color. No matter how amazing I feel, this moment means so much more to the Black women who have worked incredibly hard to change this country. The Black women who rallied the vote in Georgia. The Black women who are organizing in our communities.
Indian-American actress Mindy Kaling tweeted: “Crying and holding my daughter, ‘look baby, she looks like us.’” with a picture of Harris. These moments are meaningful and important, regardless of politics.
It’s true that not everyone agrees with Harris’ politics— even I don’t agree with everything she’s done. But there is no doubt that she is an example of what a strong woman is and how far women of color can go in our society.