Jayne Flores, the Bureau of Women’s Affairs Director, issued the following statement on the election of Kamala Harris as the first female vice president of the United States of America:
“But 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.”
As Kamala Harris uttered those words, both as the first woman, and the first woman of color, to be elected vice president of the United States, the television cameras on every broadcast network airing her speech showed women of every color and ethnicity on the human spectrum simultaneously cheering and weeping.
If you could read the minds of the women witnessing Harris’ speech, they would present a kaleidoscope of specters: slavery, beatings, sexual assault, and harassment; unfair and unequal treatment over what she wore, how she acted, what she said, what she was paid or not paid; opportunities lost because of gender, pregnancy, motherhood; and of how women have had to steel themselves to survive to this point.
Vice President-elect Harris’ moment has come at a most important time for women in our nation’s history. The Washington Post reported on November 7th that according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of women working or looking for work has fallen to its lowest level since 1988.
On Guam, it has been the mantra of the Bureau of Women’s Affairs and the Guam Women’s Chamber of Commerce that on our island, as is the case around the nation and most likely the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected single mothers more deeply than any other demographic.
The Bureau of Women’s Affairs stands ready to support President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Harris, our own first Maga’håga, Lourdes Leon Guerrero, and the GWCC in helping women to recover the losses they have experienced in the job market because of this pandemic, and to helping them make further gains based on a reimagined work environment that values the multi-faceted contributions women bring to it.
It is not lost on anyone that 100 years and three months ago, women won the right to vote. Vice President-elect Harris’ seismic milestone represents a milestone for all of us – especially for our daughters and granddaughters. Her time to shine is our time to shine.