Updated: Aug 24, 2021
For context sake, I am currently based in the UK-this has been where I've called home for the majority of my life. As a growing 20-something year old, I have considered many things more important than the US elections. For a long time, all I knew about it was that Bill Clinton 'did not have sexual relations with Monica', George Bush had the best dance moves and Barack Obama made history...what a moment!!! I digress...the point is to emphasise how disinterested I had been in the whole process. You'll be happy to know that I have since educated myself and this year, my eyes were glued to the screen! It was intense right? Oh but so worth it in the end?! We got a woman ( Kamala Harris) as the second most powerful political candidate in the free world!!! HOW EXCITING!! I'm not crying....you're crying..
On a more serious note, this is a great win for women all around the world. This is such a fundamental moment for the agenda to increase diversity and inclusion at all levels. Here are a few reasons why this moment is so important!
1) Representation matters: Seeing IS believing. If you grow up and you don't see it, it is that much harder to dream it! Picture it, all the young girls that are growing up in an America where the second most prominent leader is a female and female of colour. That is powerful! Now when you tell them that 'the sky is their limit' or 'they can achieve anything they set their mind to', it becomes that much easier to believe because they've seen it.
2) Women in Leadership: Globally, women make up a mere 24% of senior leadership positions and the U.S lags behind the global average at 21%; where women who work full-time are paid 77c per every dollar paid to their male counterparts shortchanging women and their families more than $10,000 per year (the audacity). As of June 2019, only 11 women were serving as Head of State and 12 were serving as Head of Government. Kamala's success may just be the catalyst that the world needs to create more leadership opportunities for women.
3) Policy changes: It is unfortunate that policies around the social and health wellbeing of women are still being led and enforced by men. When you consider the process of childbirth alone, you begin to see why this doesn't make any sense?! Increased representation of women in leadership positions means better-suited policies for women and children and a better quality of life for all. For example, after a two-decade long campaign by women’s groups against VAT rules that once categorised tampons as “non-essential, luxury items”, the 5% tax on tampon policy is finally being scrapped in the UK, which means that the average woman can save an additional £40 over their lifetime.
For more information, please visit:
Institute for Women's Leadership: https://iwl.nichols.edu/facts-stats/
UN Women: https://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/leadership-and-political-participation/facts-and-figures
WEF-Gender Parity Series : https://www.weforum.org/agenda/archive/gender-parity
Governing Hearts since the'90's,