‘A remarkable day for democracy and women’ as Kamala Harris becomes first female VP

Kamala Harris’ election as the first ever woman US Vice-President is a long-awaited milestone for gender equality as well as diversity.

By Lorna Hutchinson

Lorna Hutchinson is Deputy Editor of The Parliament Magazine

09 Nov 2020

The history-making election of California senator Kamala Harris as the first female Vice-President of the United States saw policymakers in Brussels celebrating her victory.

EU Equality Commissioner Helena Dalli congratulated Harris “for leaping over the hurdles and becoming the first ethnic minority woman Vice-President of the US.”

“We must play our fair share in politics and we need to reflect society, in all its diversity, at the decision-making level,” she added.

In a speech after the results of the unprecedented election, which saw Joe Biden and Kamala Harris declared the winners over incumbent Donald Trump, Harris said, “what a testament it is to Joe’s character that he had the audacity to break one of the most substantial barriers that exists in our country and select a woman as his Vice-President.”

“But 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. 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 yourselves in a way that others may not simply because they’ve never seen it before. But know that we will applaud you every step of the way. “

French Renew Europe deputy Irène Tolleret said that Harris’ address was a “wonderful speech about the glass ceiling and the American social elevator.”

“When a woman breaks the glass ceiling, with the help of men and women, a whole society realises that anything is possible; that everyone can achieve their dreams.”

“What a testament it is to Joe’s character that he had the audacity to break one of the most substantial barriers that exists in our country and select a woman as his Vice-President” Kamala Harris, US Vice-President-elect

Italian S&D MEP Alessandra Moretti said, “With her words Vice-President Kamala Harris breaks that glass ceiling that for too long has prevented so many women from reaching positions of authority. A message of hope, tenacity and courage addressed to all girls.”

Irish EPP MEP Frances Fitzgerald called Harris’ election “a remarkable day for democracy and women around the world,” while fellow Irish EPP colleague Maria Walsh said simply, “glass ceiling smashed!”

Spanish GUE/NGL MEP Eugenia Rodríguez Palop said that although Harris will be the first female Vice-President in the US, “she will not be the last.”

Rodríguez Palop, who is also vice-chair of Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, said, “For the first time, women will make up 25 percent of Congress. Another triumph of the streets, of the movements, and of so many anonymous people who have laid down their lives to fight fascism all over the world.”

Greens co-leader Ska Keller sent her congratulations to Joe Biden “and especially Kamala Harris, first female Vice-President of the US!” adding, “can’t believe it took so long.”

Belgian ECR deputy Assita Kanko referred to a quote from Harris in which she says, “I was raised to be an independent woman, not the victim of anything.”

Kanko said, “This is why I find Kamala Harris fantastic. Not for the same reasons as some people who reduce it to a story of colour again. Colour doesn't interest me; humans do.”

“When a woman breaks the glass ceiling, with the help of men and women, a whole society realises that anything is possible; that everyone can achieve their dreams” Irène Tolleret, Renew Europe

German Greens deputy Terry Reintke said, “as the first woman in history becoming Vice-President of the US, and even more, as a woman of colour, Kamala Harris, you are such an inspiration.”

Fellow Greens MEP Grace O’Sullivan said she was “looking forward to the change Kamala Harris will bring our way.”

“Hope springs eternal and this feels like a good day for women and a good day for the future of the planet and its inhabitants.”

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