Updated: Feb 16
By Emma Enebak
GPA Photo Archive / Flickr.com
Virginia Woolf, a highly influential 20th-century author, wrote in 1929, “a woman must have money and a room of her own” before she will ever be afforded equal opportunity to men. That’s exactly what Vice President Kamala Harris achieved on Jan. 20, 2021, not only for herself but for women across the globe.
She attained a room of her own.
The night she was officially sworn in as the first nonwhite, first female Vice President in United States history, Harris understood that she had just achieved something so much greater than herself, saying,
“While I may be the first woman to hold this office, I will not be the last. Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”
The daughter of Jamaician and Indian immigrants, Harris has craved this “country of possibilities'' from the start. A Los Angeles Times profile even recounted a story of her joining the cheers of protestors from her stroller as her parents marched for Civil Rights in Berkley, California.
Equal opportunity is what she wanted from the start. And equal opportunity is what she now has undeniably paved the way for. It may be just a drop in the bucket – one female VP amongst a long list of 48 males--but the significance of this small drop is not to be understated.
It’s the beginning of a new America.
As a female I look to Harris as a waymaker – someone who found a way, when there was no way. Someone who gave us not just the hope, but the belief that women are capable of the kind of leadership history told us we’re not.
She opened a door that the world had shut on us ages ago. A door of opportunity that is the culmination of the fearless women who came before her, and a gift granted to the strong women who will come after her. It is a beautiful thing to be able to live in a world where, with enough guts and determination, there is nothing barring us from walking through this door ourselves.
Harris was the first, but she will not be the last.