No matter which presidential candidate you voted for or which political party you belong to, we women should stand together unified and proud in knowing that for the first time, a woman is going to Washington, D.C., to serve as the vice president of our great nation.
It is truly a historic moment for all American women and makes the possibility of a woman as president of the United States one day so much more plausible. (It’s something I’ve dreamt of seeing ever since I was a little girl.) And even more historic is that Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is a Black woman with a multicultural background, the daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father.
In an interview, Harris quoted her mother as saying, “Kamala, you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you’re not the last.”
While Kamala Harris has shattered the glass ceiling for women all the way to the vice-presidency, we can’t allow there to be only the occasional unicorns who make it to positions of power.
As her mother advised Kamala, the same thing applies to us in medicine. Just because we have a few women doctors in national, regional, and organizational leadership positions or in traditionally male-dominated fields within medicine, such as neurosurgery, for example, we must be careful not to think women in medicine have arrived.
We must continue to work to create gender equity as here is where we stand today: A significant gender pay gap still exists in medicine where women doctors earn up to 33% less than their male counterparts. Even though women make up 36% of practicing doctors in the country, only 15% of women doctors are department chairs. Among women doctors who are also mothers, 78% felt discrimination. All of this is leading to 48% of women doctors reporting burnout, and 22% of female physicians admitted thoughts of suicide this year right before the pandemic hit our shores.
As a nation, we cannot afford to lose doctors to professional burnout and suicide, especially in the midst of a global pandemic worsening and hitting record numbers throughout our country in recent weeks.
There is no doubt that a leaky leadership pipeline in medicine exists, and the physician community needs to make sure that more women come through the ranks. We need #HeForShe allies to ensure that any qualified and interested women should have leadership opportunities available to them. And for those women doctors in leadership positions already, they have a responsibility to see that more women can serve in those roles in the future.
There certainly is much healing that needs to happen in our country after a polarizing and bitter election cycle, but because of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, what I have is hope for the future of women and people of color. As President-elect Joe Biden did with Harris, it will take men and women doctors working together to bring about gender equity in medicine. But that path is possible if we
Senator Kamala Harris, the Democratic Party’s vice-presidential candidate, faced harsh criticism and ridicule from Republicans, including President Donald Trump, for bursting into laughter at a question about her alleged Leftist leanings.
Kamala Harris was mercilessly criticised, even reviled, in the battleground state of Twitter for laughing out loud when CBS reporter Norah O’Donnell asked her if she would push a progressive agenda since she was rated as “the most liberal senator” by the non-partisan, independent Congressional vote tracker, GovTrack.us.
Kamala Harris seemed unprepared for the question and laughed nervously when O’Donnell set the stage with a statement about her being a liberal. Kamala Harris said it was Vice President Mike Pence who had called her liberal during their debate.
The reporter persisted and cited GovTrack as the source of the information, and said Harris had supported the Green New Deal, Medicare-for-all and legalization of marijuana while Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden had not, the senator defended her record.
Kamala Harris again broke into laughter when O’Donnell asked, “Is that a socialist perspective?” Socialism is a bad word in American politics in a way conservatism is not. US politicians can espouse the most extreme right-wing positions and not face questions but anyone who dares to talk about workers and unions can be labeled a socialist and face an onslaught.
Kamala Harris got a bit emotional and explained, “It is the perspective of a woman who grew up a black child in America, who was also a prosecutor, who also has a mother who arrived here at the age of 19 from India, who also likes hip hop.” She finished by chuckling again.
Kamala Harris’ laughter has become a point of ridicule even though this time it probably came from a place of disbelief because she was being labeled as left of Bernie Sanders. But she does tend to break into awkward laughter at inopportune moments, something that leads to memes and counter memes.
Republican digital hawks are always at the ready to extract a clip from what might have been a longer conversation to portray Kamala Harris negatively. Some of the reactions on Twitter to the latest Kamala Harris outrage were downright vile.
Donald Trump made fun of Kamala Harris’ laughter at a rally on Monday hours after his “rapid response team” flooded Twitter about the incident. Two days ago, he went on a rant against her saying the US would never see a “socialist” president, “especially a female socialist we’re not going to put up with it.” The attacks would be deemed sexist by any definition.
Last month, Donald Trump said, “If a woman is going to become the first president of the United States, it can’t be her,” referring to Kamala Harris since Joe Biden has indicated he would be a one-term president. It is a scare tactic Republicans use with aplomb.
The fight for the White House in 2020 has gone down to a level that would have been unimaginable a decade ago. Misogyny, dog whistles,