By Deniece Cornejo | Published: November 18, 2020
Before Kamala Harris made history, after being recently elected as the first woman vice president of the United States, the Philippines was a step ahead by already having two female presidents. The were catapulted to power in some of the most controversial events in our nation.
We already had Corazon Aquino, the Philippine’s first woman president. She rose to power after the the People Power EDSA Revolution in 1986.
And in 2001, then Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo succeeded former Philippine President Joseph Estrada who was deposed from Malacañang following an impeachment trial.
While the opportunity to hold the highest position in the land seemed elusive to women in the United States, the Philippines, as well as other countries, have proven otherwise.
Either elected or appointed, some nations chose women as leaders. They were open to recognizing and giving more opportunities to women.
We should be proud that women in our country enjoy greater equality. They are in all government agencies. We elect women as legislators and members of the judiciary.
Many private companies give equal opportunity to women so they may vie for high posts even in male-dominated industries.
Women of the new generation have shown that they are equally capable of handling responsibilities even in those attributed to men.
The modern-day woman — much like Kamala Harris — plays a decisive role in their families and in society.
No doubt Kamala Harris is the latest personification of an empowered woman who made an impact in the history of a powerful nation.
Her victory is considered a major breakthrough in US and is expected to transform its political landscape.
So far, in American political history, this is the highest elective position a woman has held.
Her win is bound to open more doors of opportunity to women leaders.
Who Is Kamala?
Kamala Harris, 56, a person of color and with roots from South Asia, made history. Could this break the great divide on gender equality and racism in the US?
In a sense, it is the first time in American history that the election of the vice president would be more historic than the election of the president.
She was a former US senator and law enforcement official who is black and Asian-American.
She was born in Oakland, California, with immigrants as parents.
Both of Indian and Jamaican descent, her activism and advocacies on racism was deeply rooted in her immersion in black culture.
This was introduced to her by her mother and some influences borne out of her exposure when she studied in school dominated by black people.
No Hard Feelings
In spite of the potent attacks against then US Vice President Joe Biden in the Democrat Party primaries. Kamala Harris was open with her ambition to run as President.
Even then, Joe Biden chose her as running mate.
Afterall, the fight as to who would be the party’s standard carrier was over. No hard feelings
Desire To Effect Change
While still in a university student, friends noticed Kamala’s passion for political debates. She is a descendant of “enslaved colored people” who came out from colonization.
To effect change was her driving force in entering politics.Being a colored American politician seemed to appeal to many ethnic groups in America as well as in a predominantly white community.
Her upbringing and experience in black colleges and universities were a great influence in her life and thinking.
Gender Equality, Recognition
Kamala Harris’s victory is seen as by many as a historic one, especially for countless black women in US fighting for equality and recognition.
Known to be very vocal on calls for dismantling systemic racism, she represents the marginalized groups of colored people in the US.
One of her strongest advocacies is on gender issues. As a lawmaker and law enforcer, she took concrete steps to protect women on exploitation specifically online.
Kamala Harris is known for leaning into her racial and ethnic identity and often, in addressing her sorority sisters in Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc., a historically Black organization.
Gay Union, Death Penalty
One of her model-leaders is Shirley Chisholm, an American politician, educator, and author from New York, the first black woman elected to the US Congress. She served for seven seven terms (1969 to 1983).
But Kamala Harris was criticized apparently for not being progressive enough on issues like gay marriage and the death penalty.
In the campaign trail, she was often referred to as “Kamala is a cop” because of her law enforcement credentials.
Owing to her law enforcement background, she made a hard stance in the midst of issues surrounding police brutalities related to racial discrimination.
Kamala Harris’ legislative works as a Senator focused on issues that may be less known to white men, such as addressing maternal mortality among black women.
Seen as a game changer, political analysts elsewhere in the world expressed hope her victory would pave the way for having a woman — a black woman at that — to be the first-ever woman president ever of the United States of America.
This is gleaned as a complete change in the face of leadership in one of the world’s most powerful countries.
Indeed, America loves a steady, strong, empathetic leader.