Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Sunday that Kamala Harris’ historic role as the nation’s first female, Black and South Asian vice president signals “women are one step closer” to getting top jobs as the country continues to grapple with gender equality in politics.
“Look, it’s — it’s tough out there. But I am so happy for Kamala. I was so happy when she was sworn in,” the Democrat told CNN’s Abby Phillip on “Inside Politics.” “And I know that millions of little girls across this country see themselves in her. With Kamala’s swearing in, women are one step closer.”
Warren, one of the progressive voices in the Senate, has spoken out numerous times about the challenges she faced during her own 2020 campaign for president because of her gender. When asked if this election will bring about positive change for women, Warren appeared optimistic.
“Yes, I hope so. And it’s Kamala, but also look at the number of women who will be heading up agencies,” she said, mentioning Deb Haaland who has been nominated as interior secretary and could be the first Native American Cabinet secretary.
She also pointed to Janet Yellen, who if confirmed by the Senate, will be the first woman treasury secretary.
“They’re wonderful women, strong women around President (Joe) Biden and that is a part of tapping into our strength as a nation. We need to hear from many voices. And that means we need to hear from men and from women.”
On the campaign trail, Warren told stories of how some male colleagues advised her to “smile more” and how she had been discouraged from running for Senate in 2012 because it would be too hard for her to win as a woman.
“If you say, ‘Yeah, there was sexism in this race,’ everyone says, ‘Whiner.’ And if you say, ‘No, there was no sexism,’ about a bazillion women think, ‘What planet do you live on?’” she said March 2020 after she ended her presidential campaign.
Harris, who had also ran for president in 2020 and whose career is full of barrier-breaking accomplishments, shattered a political glass ceiling last week to become the first woman in the second highest-ranking office in the country.
Biden has touted the historic firsts and diversity in his Cabinet, a promise he made during his campaign of having his Cabinet look like America. Fifty percent of nominees for Cabinet positions and Cabinet-level positions are people of color, according to a CNN analysis. Several of Biden’s nominees could make history as the first woman or person of color to serve in their role if confirmed by the Senate.
This story has been updated with additional details.