Despite not living in the United States, it seems that the recent election had the whole world interested. With the recent democratic victory, the first ever female vice president is due to take office in January. One question remains; why has it taken this long? Historically, politics has been a male dominated field. Half the population is female, so why isn't there a larger female representation in government?
In the year 2020, we are finally reaching a point where women are beginning to be given equal opportunities. Our Canadian house of parliament is at a record of a high percent of female representatives, featuring 23 percent female and 77 percent male. In the world, only 8 percent of the country leaders are female. This is not enough. From a CNN study in October 2019, the results yielded that most female candidates had to undertake more effort to prove themselves, at the same time receiving less support from their party leaders.
Despite these obstacles, powerful women are still working towards equal representation in government. Some names worth mentioning are the newly elected vice president Kamala Harris, German Chancellor Angele Merkel, United states speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi, and New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern. These women were forced to battle the stigmatisms around femininity to become as influential as their male counterparts. Not many people talk about the influence that these women have. It is time to shed a much-needed light on the campaigns, goals, and highlights of female world leaders, starting with the most recent election.
Kamala Harris was the US senator representative of California, and now she is the current Vice President elect of the United States. She will be the first female vice president and the first person of colour vice president. As a senator, Kamala Harris advocates for undocumented immigrants, the ban of assault rifles as well as progressive tax reform. Harris is also famous for her questioning of Brett Kavanaugh, one of Trumps’ administration members, for sexual assault. In her political career, Harris had served as district attorney of San Francisco, attorney general of California and a member of the US senate. Despite Harris’s advocacy for immigrants, women's rights, the environment, and progressive healthcare, she is still not perfect on her journey. Harris is broadly aligned with her party when it comes to police reform, but in 2015 she denied that California police should be thoroughly investigated or required to wear body cameras. Kamala’s past in prosecution and criminal justice was the sore point in her campaign for vice presidency. The democratic party supports police reform, considering issues with police brutality and discrimination. This goes against where Kamala has stood in the past, calling herself the “top cop” and supporting Californian police forces. However, after joining Joe Biden in his race for presidency, she has claimed to “align her views with those of her party”.
As a female in our society, you must work twice as hard to be taken seriously. Therefore, despite her faults, this was still an historic election and a huge milestone for women in politics. Many will say that women already have the vote and are therefore equal. Despite being legally equal, that does not change the societal norms which keep women from being treated fairly. The continuous denial of this imbalance will only send our society backwards. When researching the new vice president, 2 of the top 3 articles where about the historic appointment of a male second gentleman, stating that her husband was the “secret weapon behind her success” instead of focusing on the achievement of Kamla herself. These small details seem like nothing, however, is a huge problem when females are spending their lives battling to be taken seriously. If people remain quiet about these small injustices, girls are going to grow up wondering what is wrong with them, instead of wondering what is wrong with the society.
Written by Cloey Aconley