The First Woman Vice President: Why It Matters

Staff Writer: Grace Cohen

A presidential inauguration is always monumental, but the 2021 inauguration marked a crucial turning point in the future office holders of the presidency and vice presidency. While Joe Biden has now been sworn in as the new President of the United States, by his side is the new Vice President, Kamala Harris. 

Harris is the first woman to ever hold the office of the Vice President, as well as the first person of color to hold the position. Her holding of office is significant for so many Americans who can see themselves in her. Women have never been in these offices and now that there is one, so many people can see what they can do. 

The same can be said for her racial identity. Barack Obama made history as the first ever black president and now Kamala Harris makes equally significant history in breaking the antiquated tradition of having strictly white males as vice president. Her achievement is an achievement for everyone who has never seen someone like them in office. 

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla
Kamala Harris was a strong candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination but after Joe Biden won the bid, Harris was looked to as his Vice President.

How does this effect the future of both the vice-presidentialoffice and even the presidential office? We, of course, can’t say anything definitively, we can only hope that it will lead us a step in the right direction. This transition from a specifically male led Presidential/Vice Presidential team to a team with a female included marks a point that many hopes will begin the normalization of women in such a large degree of power. Harris’ role can open new doorways for women in politics, both by encouraging women to pursue careers in politics and to achieve as high as the Presidential office.

Emily Coyne, a junior at Woodstock says, “I think a woman vice president is very important for the future of the country because it starts the normalcy of woman being in important positions for politics and gives a role model to younger girls who don’t typically see woman in important political positions. I think this also helps more woman want to get more involved and competitive with going in politics and hopefully there will be more drive for more woman to get involved with it. And it helps with the presidency because it’s not just a man’s perspective, it’salso a woman’s and I feel like it will help balance decisions because men and women have very many differences.” 

Seeing Kamala Harris be sworn in on live television felt like such a big moment in our nation’s history, yet I also felt underwhelmed in terms of my actual emotions. It didn’t feel like we were defeating the patriarchy or as if it was an event that would open doors for women on every front. I didn’t think, “We did it!” because I realized it wasn’t even something that America and its people were trying to do for the most part. 

Yet, all of that is exactly what it is. Having a woman in that important of an office isn’t important because it’s that specific office per say, but because now girls everywhere can look and see someone like them that’s powerful, that’s worked hard, and that’s important everywhere. 

Photo Credit: Kevin Lamarque 
Harris was sworn in as Vice President in January 21st, 2021, making history as the first female VP as well as the first POC (person of color) to hold that office. 

Kamala Harris isn’t meant to be a feminist symbol by any means, but that’s not what any of this is. It’s not feminist to empower young women, it’s not feminist to push forward new role models, and it’s definitely not feminist to just have a woman as vice president. It’s not as material as that, it’s so much more- it should be so much more. 

A junior at WHS, Molly Hamilton, believes, “It’s important for Kamala Harris being the first woman vice president because there is such a precedent set in this country for women and for men. There’re jobs such as president, vice president, etc., that have all (been considered) ‘men’s jobs’ but with Kamala being the first woman vice president, it shows that that’s not true and it’s something that any person can accomplish. It gives younger women more confidence to see that it’s possible to do what you want to do and shes paving the way for women to build their way higher up in that region and in politics.” 

I hope, along with many others, that Vice President Kamala Harris’ landmark role helps paved the way for continued normalcy of women in power and in positions that have long been male dominated, and male led. Regardless of what happens, this landmark achievement should be viewed by all as important for the nation, presenting a step forward in US politics.

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