Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi Are Now the First Women to Lead Joint Congress Session

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Harper's Bazaar Staff
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Photo credit: MELINA MARA - Getty Images
Photo credit: MELINA MARA - Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi became the first women to lead a joint session of Congress yesterday.

President Joe Biden marked the historic moment in his first address to Congress. "Madam Speaker, Madam Vice President," he began, speaking from the podium as Harris and Pelosi were positioned on the dais behind him. "No president has ever said those words from this podium. No president has ever said those words, and it's about time."

Though Pelosi has previously sat behind the presidential podium since becoming the first woman to be elected as Speaker of the House in 2007, this was a first for the role of vice president.

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In the November 2020 issue of Harper's Bazaar, Harris reflected on her historic milestone of becoming the first Black woman and the first South Asian person to be nominated for vice president on the Democratic presidential ticket. "My mother always taught me, 'You may be the first to do many things, never be the last.' I've always carried that with me," she wrote.

"I'm honored to be considered a 'first,'" she continued, "but I always think about the people who came before and paved the way for me to get where I am today. From Rosa Parks to Shirley Chisholm to Congressman John Lewis, I stand on the shoulders of so many great men and women before me. My message to the many women who will continue to break barriers and be 'firsts' in their fields is don't give up, believe in yourself, and let your talent lead you. And surround yourself with good and supportive friends to keep you lifted up."

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