As Joe Biden begins his transition into office, it is time for us to begin picking up the pieces and acknowledging where we came from and where we are going. And when I say pick up the pieces, I do not mean the economy, or the damage Trump has done or anything political, really. I mean the pieces from the glass ceiling.
Whether you are Republican or Democrat or neither, you must acknowledge the historic, glass-ceiling-shattering change that has just happened. The United States of America has a female Vice President. Just typing those words gives me chills.
Kamala Harris is the first female Vice President of the United States.
As a young girl, I heard other girls and women say, “I want to be the first female president.” I heard it from my classmates. I heard it in movies and television shows. I mean, even Barbie wanted to be the first female president. I wanted to be the president.
To me, it always felt like one of those jobs that every little girl says they want, like being a ballerina or a princess. It felt wildly fanciful, imaginary, magical. Having a female president, or vice president, felt impossible. Much like unicorns and mermaids, the older I got, the more that occupational goal felt like an unreachable dream. However, I would never stop fighting for this dream.
In middle school, I was made fun of advocating for gender equality. A “femi-nazi” is what my peers called me. I was bullied for wanting women to have the same privileges that males have. My classmates, specifically my male classmates, argued that things were already equal or that there was no more work to be done in reaching gender equality. I could not wrap my head around why others did not support it the way I did. It baffled me.
In history class, we were taught about all the famous presidents that shaped America. My teacher pulled up a composite photo of all the presidents in United States history. And then it clicked in my head. I realized why these adolescent boys thought that no more change was needed. I stared at the black and white photos of America’s “best and brightest.” They had the power.
It is almost funny, too, because America seems to be one of the only countries that has not broken the female leader glass ceiling. Germany has Chancellor Angela Merkel. Argentina has President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Denmark has Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt. All these women have been elected by their citizens.
Finally, America has Vice President Kamala Harris. Finally, American citizens have elected a female leader.
For women to be taken more seriously in academics, business, or any field (or in life in general), we need more women in power. Women need the same platforms that are available to men. Women need to be included in the decision-making for our country—especially when these decisions affect women specifically. Women need a voice. Women need and are entitled to a key to the White House.
Becoming president or vice president is the ideal platform for this. As kids, we are taught to look up to the president. We are taught that the president and vice president are the ideal role models for all Americans. They are the face of the entire country.
We need females in politics for this reason.
On Inauguration Day, I felt so much pride for all women. The strong female presence mesmerized me. The little girl in me watched in wonder as I finally came to terms with the fact that I, too, could become president or vice president. And if I felt that way, I can only imagine how all the little girls who are still dreaming big feel. Finally, being president seems achievable for women.
Whether you like Vice President Harris or not, or even if you disagree with her policies, you should still feel immense respect for her. Put her on the same level you put John Adams, Theodore Roosevelt, or George H. W. Bush. Write her into history as we have them in the past.
And you should be proud of our country that your sister, your daughter, your niece, could one day be in that position as well.