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On Jan. 20, 2021, Vice President Kamala Harris was sworn into office as not only the first woman to hold the position, but also the first Asian American and Black woman — breaking barriers in a historically male dominated system of government. 

For centuries, women in the United States have held few government positions, leading to fewer opportunities and severe underrepresentation in our democracy. Women make up 51% of the U.S. population yet hold only 24% of the Senate and 27% of the House of Representatives

Politics aside, Harris’ inauguration changed young women’s perspectives of their opportunities in government. Electing the first woman to the vice presidency inspired not only the women of Her Campus at Maryland, but empowered them. 

In honor of this historical moment and Vice President Kamala Harris, the writers at Her Campus at Maryland collectively voiced their sentiments on what Harris’ inauguration meant to them. 

“To me, Vice President Kamala Harris changed the landscape of the U.S. government. Just by holding the position, she’s allowed young girls of wildly diverse backgrounds to peer into a life they maybe never imagined for themselves. When children see her on the TV or learn about her in history class, I hope they understand the paths she's forged for them. To me, promoting inclusivity and creating opportunities for those who will come after you is one of the most important parts of leadership. I look forward to seeing what Harris does during her time in office.” ~ Devon Milley

“Kamala Harris’ role as vice president is historic and signifies a change in our country. Seeing a woman in this position of power gives me hope that future generations of women will be met with open doors and equality. Despite being scrutinized on her journey to office, Kamala Harris exemplifies the endless possibilities for women that seemed unimaginable just years ago. As a female approaching my early twenties, the Madam Vice President has taught me to approach life with ambition, resilience and enthusiasm.” ~ Julia Kahn 

“I was proud to watch Vice President Harris be sworn into office and felt I was truly witnessing history. It is inspiring to see our leadership becoming more and more representative of our country’s diversity. I especially appreciated the Inauguration Day message about coming together beyond party lines to repair our nation amid the pandemic. I hope that more leaders like Vice President Harris can promote a more collaborative and nonpartisan democracy moving forward.” ~ Madi Willoughby 

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“Watching the inauguration, I felt something I haven’t in a while: hope. I am hopeful for the future of our nation. Little girls all over the country are able to grow up seeing a strong, powerful woman as the vice president and view it as the normalcy it should have been for years. Kamala Harris will inspire girls to not only think but know they can do big things, and their voices are necessary and valued in this democracy.” ~ Parker Leipzig

“It means a lot to me to see a woman finally take this level of office in the United States, and while I wish it had happened earlier, it gives me hope that Harris is making history. As an Indian American young woman, it’s also amazing to see myself and so many others represented by Harris’ ethnic background. I hope that going forward, she and other female politicians pass progressive legislation and continue to inspire others.” ~ Shifra Dayak

“I couldn’t help but tear up at seeing Vice President Harris being inaugurated. I was so proud during that moment. Her determination throughout the election was inspiring, and it felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders when she was sworn into office. I’m so glad that women and young girls across the country have a woman like her to look up to.” ~ Yesenia Montenegro 

“Growing up, I watched older, white men dominate the world of government. I’ve always been passionate about women’s issues and was determined to even the playing field one day. Watching Vice President Kamala Harris get sworn into office brought tears to my eyes, as I knew this was an enormous step forward for the future of women. For far too long, women have watched men make decisions about their future, their bodies, their finances and careers. Vice President Kamala Harris’ time in office will show young girls from all backgrounds that they are capable of anything and can shatter any glass ceiling ahead of them.” ~ Gracie Tanner

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