Virginia Tech professor weighs in on Kamala Harris as vice president of the United States

Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 10:33 PM EST
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - It was a moment for the history books as now-Vice President Kamala Harris took the stage Wednesday, representing women and minorities.

Virginia Tech professor of political science Farida Jalalzai said this brings women one step closer to the presidency, which has been the hardest glass ceiling for women to break. She said we should use this moment to recognize the advances women have made while still addressing inequities.

“Just because a woman has made it this far and a woman of color has made it this far doesn’t mean we are past gender or race being an obstacle,” Jalalzai said.

Jalalzai said we should stop and celebrate, but note this is only a small step.

“The effects of having a female vice president could really make young girls at this moment really think about this as a potential career, whereas we know that women are far less likely than their male counterparts to pursue a political career,” Jalalzai said.

She said women are still far less represented compared to their percentages in the population, and having Harris in this position could be a springboard for future leadership.

“If Kamala Harris is as successful as I think she will be, she would be, in essence, a frontrunner possibly for the next time the Democratic nomination is open,” she said.

There’s been an increase of women in leadership since the early 2000s, but Jalalzai said there are still misconceptions, especially among minority women.

“She has a real opportunity here to be a force politically with her role as vice president in an era of polarization,” she said.

Jalalzai said we should keep an eye on Harris because she has a chance to bring a fresh perspective and not just serve as a tiebreaker in the Senate.

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