With former Vice President Joe Biden’s projected victory comes a historical moment in American politics. Senator Kamala Harris is set to become the first female vice president. We spoke with women in the Peace Garden State about what this win means for women in America.
The 2020 election made history in many ways. One being Sen. Harris becoming the first woman, the first person of color and the first person of South Asian descent to hold the office of Vice President.
“We did it! We did it, Joe! You’re going to be the next President of the United States,” said the soon-to-be Vice President.
The 56-year-old will reach the highest position a woman has ever held in the U.S. government, and it’s an inspiration to many.
“We’re thrilled with the election of Kamala Harris,” said Kristie Wolff, executive director of North Dakota Women’s Network.
The North Dakota Women’s Network is an organization focused on educating and promoting women, including in elected offices. Wolff says Harris’s win was decades in the making.
Wolff added, “In 2020, we are celebrating the centennial of the ratification of the 19th amendment giving most women the constitutional right to vote. And now 100 years later, Kamala Harris shatters the glass ceiling.”
Wolff believes Harris will change the path of leadership in the country for other women, like Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress in 1968. And even women in the Peace Garden State, like former U.S. Senators Heidi Heitkamp and Jocelyn Burdick.
“There are inherent experiences and priorities shared by women across the political spectrum that bring a unique perspective and they have lived experiences that are different,” added Wolff.
Shelbi Waters, the interim president of the YWCA, says we are even seeing strides for women on the local level.
“I think it is a huge inspiration to young people, and here in Minot, we are already doing incredible work. The first lesbian was elected as vice president of city council,” said Waters. “So all in all, I think right here in Minot we are already setting an excellent example.”
An example that could inspire generations to come.
“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last, because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities,” said Sen. Harris.
North Dakota has never elected a woman as governor, but two women have served as lieutenant governor: Ruth Meiers in 1985 and Rosemarie Myrdal in 1993.