Features Editor Jenny Proudfoot explains why this is a turning point that we will never look back from…
Today sees the historic inauguration of Joe Biden as America’s 46th President, following the nail-bitingly close 2020 US Presidential Election.
Celebrations are erupting across the world, with hope for what this new blue wave will bring, and the inauguration (featuring performances from Lady Gaga, J-Lo and Bruce Springsteen) is set to break viewing records.
Watching today’s events however, my tears of joy aren’t for Biden (despite being a huge fan), they are for his running mate, Kamala Harris.
The first Black and South Asian American woman to run on a major political party’s presidential ticket and now the first ever female Vice President.
In short – she has just shattered the glass ceiling for us all. A woman is going to the White House for the first time in history and there will be no going back.
I fear that the global excitement at Donald Trump leaving office may have overshadowed the magnitude of this milestone moment for women, so I just wanted to break it down.
There have been 45 Presidents and 45 Vice Presidents in US history – that’s 90 leaders – all men. Three women ever have run – Hillary Clinton as President in 2016, Sarah Palin as Vice President in 2008, and Geraldine Ferraro as VP in 1984.
All three women suffered crippling defeats, to the point where the message wasn’t simply that we should elect men, but that we shouldn’t elect women.
Hillary Clinton’s devastating loss in 2016 couldn’t have sent a clearer message to women and girls across the world – we are not on equal footing, and a wildly under-qualified and dangerous man could and would beat a hardworking, competent and extremely qualified woman. That was the world we were raising our daughters in.
But, as they say, one moment can change everything, and I do believe that today is the start of a new era – and there will be no going back.
Kamala being sworn in today will change how we raise our daughters, how we raise our sons, how we empower our friends and how we believe in ourselves.
We finally have a woman at the top of US politics for all young girls to look up to. And not just any woman – a woman who calls men out for talking over her (we’re looking at you Mike Pence), a woman who goes out of her way to tell young girls that they could be President one day, and a woman who embraces her warmth, empathy and maternal nature as a strength rather than a weakness.
There is still undoubtedly a long way to go to achieve gender equality – the fact that a woman’s appointment is groundbreaking makes that clear – but we are making progress and we all have a part to play in furthering that progress.
We must lift up the women around us, we must celebrate Kamala and most importantly, we must normalise her position of power so that young girls around the world see her story as a possibility not an exception.
This is a huge step forward for women everywhere and Kamala, we’re raising our glasses to you this evening.
Go on girl.