How The Election Legitimized Women’s Ambition And What That Means For Tech

Political affiliations aside, history was made when Kamala Harris was announced as the United States vice president-elect earlier this month. This is the first time a Black and South Asian woman born of immigrant parents is poised to join one of the highest offices of power and influence.

Kamala Harris is already becoming iconic in that she represents the opportunity not had by the women before her as well as the opportunities to come for the young women who hope to succeed her someday – and know it’s possible because she was the first.

Being the first comes with expected notoriety, but the powerful and moving nature of Harris’s election as the first of those who share her identities goes deeper. It represents the breakthrough of identities that are historically and currently marginalized at points far below the level of office she has succeeded, and the combination of which is often treated as many reasons why her election should not have happened. As shared by her niece, Meena Harris, in an op-ed earlier this month, it is also a validation of the ambitions women have despite facing adversity to their gender, race, sexual orientation and otherwise. A woman’s ambition has not only been legitimized, but also celebrated – even iconicized as inspiration for female leaders to come.

This rhetoric, which has only just begun to gain momentum, is not a quick and easy news peg for clicks; it is critically needed.

In parts of the country where women and girls are treated as inferior to their male counterparts, this is especially the case. In industries such as technology where leadership positions are largely held by men, the gender ratio at large remains dismal – not to mention the sparse state of racial diversity. Of note, Harris’s election also dismantles the myth that an HBCU education does not properly prepare one for success as she is a graduate of Howard University. 

The importance of examining these learnings lies in their potential to spark the rewiring of systems that have wrongly existed because of bias and misconceptions. It is important not only for the opportunities it will bring for women, but also for all of the places that will now win the impact of women who will be freer to inspire and work, contribute and lead where they were once hindered.

From T-shirts with the NASA logo exclusively hanging in the ‘Boys’ section of a clothing store, to “boy’s club” cultures in undergraduate Computer Science departments that dissuade would-be female CS graduates from completing their course of study, the divide starts young and continues into adulthood. Women technologists who have been in the industry for decades reflect on their paths and pivot points as anomalies rather than inevitable – a highly paradoxical pattern within the most progressive industry in the world.

This election was more than a contest between two potential leadership

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As COVID outbreak raged at Atholville home, volunteer workers felt abandoned by province

Overflowing laundry hampers, coughing COVID-positive residents wandering unchecked, and no one in charge.When the first COVID-19 outbreak in New Brunswick was declared at a special care home in Atholville, that’s what health-care workers from all corners of the province found inside when they responded to a desperate call for help.It was early June, the province was coming out of the worst of the first wave, and virtually all of the regular staff at Manoir de la Vallée had COVID-19, were self-isolating, or were too afraid to care for COVID-positive residents.The Department of Health appealed for caregivers, and those who responded told CBC News what they saw in the Alzheimer’s and dementia unit at the centre of the outbreak was “a nightmare.””The conditions were — they were deplorable really,” said one of the workers, describing residents who were dehydrated, malnourished and required bathing.”We had no housekeeping, no kitchen staff. Everybody had left. So it was a very overwhelming feeling. It was like a fire burning out of control.”> I would liken it to a firefighter walking into a burning building. They don’t know what they’re walking into, nor did we. And that was pretty scary once our feet hit the ground. – Carol, health-care workerRegistered nurses, licensed practical nurses, personal care workers and respiratory therapists all travelled to Atholville to help. CBC News has agreed not to name the health-care workers we spoke with, because they fear repercussions from their employers.Two of them, to be known here as Sandy and Carol, did agree to recorded interviews about the weeks they spent caring for 15 residents at Manoir de la Vallée.”It looked nice on the outside,” Carol said when asked about first impressions of the home, but on the inside “it was in total shambles.”Unit ‘pretty scary'”They had no medication administration sheets, they had no charts for us to to go through to find out about them,” Carol said of the challenges caregivers faced.”I would liken it to a firefighter walking into a burning building. They don’t know what they’re walking into, nor did we. And that was pretty scary once our feet hit the ground.”Guy Tremblay, president and CEO of the Lokia Group, which owns Manoir de la Vallée, was not there during the outbreak but was on the phone with his director and with government officials every day from his office in Quebec.He knew from the moment the first test came back positive for one of his caregivers that staffing would be his number one challenge, particularly in northern New Brunswick, where it was already difficult to find qualified workers.”The first problem is not COVID,” Tremblay said. “It’s human resources.”Tremblay said that in the first video conference he had with government officials he advised them “the first step will be preparing staff because we’ll be short of staff soon.” He was right. Of his 28 staff, Tremblay said, five tested positive for COVID-19, another 10 were

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