"A Country of Possibilities"

Gender was front and center in Victory Speeches

Evan and I let the kids stay up late to watch Joe Biden and Kamala Harris give their victory speeches. Beatrice and James, ages 9 and 6, were showered and in clean PJs; there was an air of excitement and celebration in our house. We were interested in letting them hear what Joe Biden had to say - but it was really Kamala Harris, being the first female Vice President-elect, that piqued our interest. It was an historic, ground-breaking moment for our country and we wanted our kids to remember it.

I found the below quote especially appealing. It is a line that will likely continue to have an impact on our nation’s girls, who can now look up and see that someone like them sits in one of America’s highest positions of power.

“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.”

But I want to draw attention to the fact that Harris’ words did not stop with little girls – because I believe her words are also having an impact on our nation’s little boys. It is equally inspiring that boys across the United States will grow up with a woman demonstrating that power and leadership transcends gender. That’s why we made sure that not only our daughter, but also our son watched that speech. At his young age, he wasn’t really paying attention to her words. But we want him to grow up seeing women – especially a woman of color – in positions of power and leadership.

In the coming years, I hope that Vice President-elect Kamala Harris helps little girls feel more confident to say, “I’m speaking” when they are interrupted by men. And I hope this Vice President-elect helps little boys come to understand when they should stop talking, and listen. 

Photo courtesy of imgur. (Thanks to Sue Richiedei for helping me track this down!)

Another important gender quote from the victory speeches came from Joe Biden. It was the first time in our history that a US President-elect specifically addressed transgender people.

“I’m proud of the coalition we put together, the broadest and most diverse coalition in history. Democrats, Republicans, independents, progressives, moderates, conservatives, young, old, urban, suburban, rural, gay, straight, transgender, white, Latino, Asian, Native American.”

On top of that, the love didn’t just come from Joe Biden, but also from American voters. The Victory Institute reports a net gain of 4 more transgender people elected into state or national office, bringing the total to 32. I was comforted to see on the Victory Institute’s map that these wins are not just in blue states like California and Vermont, but also in red states like West Virginia and Nebraska.

Since May we have seen dozens of articles published about how Covid-19 is disproportionately affecting women. I’ll include two recent headlines from NPR that stood out to me because they are generally representative of other things I have read: Stuck-At-Home-Moms: The Pandemic’s Devastating Toll on Women, and ‘I Come Up Short Everyday’: Couples Under Strain as Families Are Stuck At Home

News outlets have been reporting this information for 6+ months now. But what are we doing to help women, and to help each other? Do we think the problem is too big to solve? Have we decided to collectively turn a blind eye and accept this fate until there is a vaccine? I’m not sure what disappoints me more, the fact that we’re in this situation to begin with, or the fact that we’re not doing anything to fix it.

These are questions that have been on my mind for months – and I wondered if anyone else had similar thoughts. How do you feel when you read about the pandemic’s negative affect on women? Have any articles or headlines that have stood out to you? Please send them my way!