Speaking at a rally recently the senator (and presidential hopeful) reminded two young women in the audience that they never need permission to follow their dreams.
Some of the most powerful moments that come out of political canvassing and campaigning is when female politicians speak to young girls.
Do you remember the images of tiny children dressed in their best pantsuits lining up to speak to Hillary Clinton? Because we do. We think about those images, and the power contained within them, often. You can’t be what you can’t see.
Kamala Harris is currently campaigning to win the Democratic nomination to run for president of the US in 2020. She’s been polling well and is considered to be a frontrunner. If she wins the nomination and is elected president she would be the US’ first female – and first black female – president.
Harris understands this power. At an appearance this week Harris made the time to speak directly to the many young women and girls who lined up to see her. The Californian senator shared videos of her conversing with girls on her Instagram. She was also captured on video speaking to two young women outside her rally, sharing a vital message about overcoming imposter syndrome.
Harris held one of the teenager’s hands and looked her in the eyes. “You never have to ask anyone permission to lead,” Harris told her. “I want you to remember that. OK? When you want to lead, you lead.”
Then, Harris asked the young woman to repeat it back to her, which she did with a big grin on her face. The pair shook hands and the girl thanked Harris profusely. “When you lead, you must lead,” Harris said, smiling. “OK?”
Harris’ message is an important one, not only for young women and girls but for women everywhere struggling with imposter syndrome. Many women feel like they don’t have the courage or the permission to work towards their goals. Maybe they’ve been gaslighted. Maybe they’ve been told that their dreams are worthless and they’ll never achieve them.
Harris understands this more than most. Although the most recent midterms in the US saw a record number of women elected to office, the number of female politicians in the US is still greatly outnumbered by the number of male politicians. And, lest we forget, there has never been a female president of America.
Harris wants to change that – and so does Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand and Tulsi Gabbard. Even Marianne Williamson wants to change that. None of these five women are asking permission to lead. And neither should we.