Diverse Women in Key Roles in our country

A big part of the diversity discussion revolves around how women have battled for equal rights. In many cases, they worked twice as hard to get into key roles which men held before. We see change is happening with an all woman team for the flyover at this years’ Super Bowl. Or all woman flight crews on commercial flights.

Diverse Women in Key Roles

Diverse women currently serve in key roles in our country. On our supreme count, we see two black and one Latina woman were nominated, selected and sworn in. Currently, we have a Black female Vice President of our country. And soon we will have Black female president of one of the most prestigious schools in our country, Harvard.

This week I would like to talk about two of these diverse women and how they got into those key roles.

Kamala Harris – Vice President of the United States

Kamala Harris - first woman vice president
Vice President Kamala Harris

According to Encyclopedia Britannica online, Kamala Devi Harris is the first woman and first woman of color to serve in this position. She served in the senate representing the state of California before being elected.

Harris is the daughter of immigrants, her dad from Jamaica and her mom from India, and saw the issues with racial and civil rights from a young age. This view is what makes her so passionate about racial injustice and women’s issues.

She originally started a presidential campaign in 2020, which she was leading for short time, but eventually dropped out when her campaign ran into trouble. She continued to keep a high profile in the racial injustice arena which was becoming more of a political issue. The Democratic party saw a need for an African American woman to represent that demographic in the election. So, they asked her to join Joe Biden on the Democratic ticket.

Then, on January 20, 2021, Harris was sworn in as the 49th vice president of the United States. If you want to learn more about her and her journey to become vice president, please check out her biography at womenshistory.org.

Claudine Gay – soon to be President of Harvard

As of July 1, 2023, Claudine Gay will be the first woman of color and second woman to serve as the president of Harvard University. She is currently the Wilbur A. Cowett Professor of Government and of African and African-American Studies and the Edgerley Family Dean of Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Diverse women - Claudine Gay - first black president of Harvard University
Claudine Gay

According to Wikipedia, Gay was the daughter of Haitian immigrants and grew up in New York City and Saudi Arabia where her father worked for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.

After earning her PhD from Harvard, she went on to rise up through the ranks in college education. Starting as an assistant professor and an associate professor at Sandford University and then moving back to Harvard University to become Dean of Social Sciences.

As she continued her research in American political behavior, including voter turnout and politics of race and identity, she built her resume in the University system to eventually be selected to serve as the president. If you want to learn more about her, please check out her biography at Harvard.edu.

Why has it taken so long?

These women are more than qualified to hold the positions that they finally are in. Why has it take so long for diverse women to hold key roles in our country?

Women’s roles have changed over the course of our country’s history. They were seen as the ones taking care of the children and the home. Now they are contributing partners in two income households and their skills are being recognized by society, regardless of their race or sexual orientation. In our diverse country, some people with more traditional views don’t see women as capable of holding these positions. But as we move more towards inclusion of others, I think we will see more diverse women in these roles.

How do we help teens to see women can hold the same roles as men? Be sure to tell our teens that anything is possible, whether you are a male, female or recognize yourself as something else. I think Kamala Harris said it best in a speech she gave the day after she was elected vice president of the United States

“But while I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last. Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities. And to the children of our country, regardless of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message: Dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourself in a way that others might not see you, simply because they’ve never seen it before.”

Have a great week!

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