Kamala Harris has made U.S. political history, first black woman history, first African American, the first woman of Indian descent to reach this milestone as the first female vice president-elect of the United States of America. It’s an iconic moment for women all over the world and a celebratory moment for feminism-- and which may, in fact, change the future of U.S. politics for women.
Let’s take a look at Kamala Harris’ background and how the future of U.S. presidential elections may have changed for Women as a result of her VP Win!
KAMALA HARRIS’ BACKGROUND
Harris was born in Oakland, California, on October 20, 1964. Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, a biologist had arrived in the United States from Tamil Nadu in India in 1958 as a 19-year-old graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley; Gopalan received her PhD in 1964. Harris' father, Donald J. Harris, is a Stanford professor emeritus of economics, who arrived in the United States from British Jamaica in 1961 for graduate study at UC Berkeley, receiving a PhD in economics in 1966.
Kamala Harris was no stranger to the alienation that many young black, Asian, and mixed-race children experienced during her childhood. Harris has recalled a number of times where she and her sister were forbidden from playing with neighborhood children because they were black.
After living in Canada with her mother, Harris returned to the U.S. and pursued a degree in political science, as well as in economics, at Howard University. Howard University is one of the most celebrated and longest-lived Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the U.S. Harris pledged to Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first black sorority ever created in the U.S educational history. Once her undergraduate degree was completed, She earned a law degree from the University of California.
Harris then went on to become a deputy district attorney in Alameda County in California. After eight years in the position, she moved on to become an assistant district attorney in San Francisco. In 2004, she went on to win her position as San Francisco’s district attorney and then attorney general of California. In 2016, she won a position in the California senate.
HOW KAMALA HARRIS’ VICE PRESIDENT WIN WILL CHANGE THE FUTURE OF U.S. POLITICS FOR WOMEN
Vice President Kamala Harris has already began changing the face of U.S. politics even before she’s taken her position in the White House. Because before now there has never been an African American woman, South American American, any woman of Indian descent or female vice president in the history of the U.S. Harris’ position is one that has set a new precedent.
More importantly, Harris is a constant reminder and inspiration for young Black and Asian girls who may have an interest in politics, but were discouraged by the lack of real representation.
Not only is Harris a figure of representation for women of color, but there are other aspects of her Vice Presidency will that could lead to major changes in U.S. politics. Harris’ political focus will be on support for Black women in the U.S., who have historically been immovable advocates for improving and expanding democratic rights for Americans for centuries. Harris will also likely be a pivotal figure in international and immigration affairs.
Amidst all these speculations, one positive thing is that women’s political participation in America seems to be improving. The AAPI data survey states that the trend of political participation of Indian Americans is better than that of Chinese and Japanese Americans. Not only that, women are represented in 30% of all the seats in Congress.