On Saturday, March 18, the Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris and Glamour co-hosted a brunch to celebrate Women’s History Month, at the Vice President’s residence in Washington, D.C.
In front of an audience of female trailblazers including Grammy award winner Megan Thee Stallion, Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, actors Simone Ashley, Nicole Ari Parker and Phoebe Robinson, soccer star Ashlyn Harris, founder and CEO Emma Grede, fashion designer and Fifteen Percent Pledge founder Aurora James, author and activist Marley Dias, and more, Vice President Harris gave a passionate speech about women’s power, economic empowerment, and the importance of passing paid leave.
The Vice President told attendees, “Economic empowerment of women is about an investment in the future of our country. When you lift up the economic status of women, you lift up the economic status of families and communities, and all of society benefits.”
She singled out Glamour’s ongoing advocacy for paid leave, and in her opening remarks thanked Karina Garcia, one of the new mothers featured in Glamour’s groundbreaking 28 Days paid leave project, who welcomed the Vice President on stage. “Karina, I want to thank you, for the power of your voice, and the phenomenal women that you stood here on stage with. The stories that they have told publicly about the experiences that you’ve each had are heartbreaking and powerful, and it takes an incredible amount of courage for you each to tell those stories that are so personal. But you are why we do what we do.
“It’s been so wonderful to partner with Glamour. What you and your team have done to emphasize the importance of economic empowerment, and in particular highlighting paid leave, is so important.”
Guests cheered as she continued: “This issue of paid family leave is a national issue in terms of the strength of our economy as a whole. And that’s why congress needs to follow Nancy Pelosi’s word and pass legislation around paid family leave.”
The Vice President also applauded the attendees for being trailblazers and history makers across sectors, and she encouraged them to continue lifting up and inspiring other women. She said, “My mother had many sayings. She said: ‘Kamala, you may be the first to do many things. Make sure you are not the last.’ Let us continue to keep that path and that door open, and make it bigger and wider for all those who are counting on us.”
The Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff took to the stage first to welcome guests to the event. He first thanked Glamour for doing “so much good in the world to uplift women, women’s voices, and their stories, to make sure that they’re never ignored.”
He noted how many history makers were in the room, the administration’s commitment to advancing the rights of women and girls, and his own passion for gender equity work, joking “I didn’t just start talking about gender equity when I met Kamala Harris.”
He then introduced Glamour’s Editor in Chief and Americas Editorial Director Samantha Barry, who spoke movingly about Glamour’s storied history of fighting for women’s equity, championing working women, and advocating for reproductive rights and paid leave.
“I am honored and humbled to be celebrating Women’s History Month with you all at the Vice President’s residence. March is a really important month for us as we take account of the extraordinary achievements of women. For me it’s a time where we take stock of the past, celebrate the present, and plot the future.
“Glamour is 85 years old next year. We were one of the first magazines in the United States to really empower the working woman—our tagline in the 40s was ‘for the girl with a job’. Looking into the archives, these issues of Glamour equipped women to take on jobs when the world went to war, they had feminist writers who argued why women should go to college, long before it became the norm. And there were so many inches and issues dedicated to the fight for reproductive rights and the passing of Roe v Wade. And I wonder, as I say these words out loud, what those writers in the 50s, 60s and 70s would feel that we are still fighting that fight in 2023.
“We tackled topics like divorce, sexual liberation, motherhood and more in groundbreaking ways. And the history of Glamour is really woven into the history of women in America.”
She also took time to celebrate all the women in the audience, and acknowledge many former Glamour Women of the Year honorees who were in attendance, including the Vice President, Megan Thee Stallion, the women of Heart of Dinner, Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, Sherrilyn Ifill, and Ambassador Susan Rice. And encouraged the audience to join Glamour in plotting for the future—spotlighting our recent By Women initiative, and our paid leave advocacy.
Then she welcomed Karina Garcia, who was joined by Abi Akintolayo, Tiffany Mroktek and Shukura Wells from our paid leave project, who shared her own story about her experiences postpartum, and why coming together to mark Women’s History Month is so important, before introducing the Vice President.
She told the audience: “Last year, on May 12, I gave birth to my first daughter Yohualli. Six days later, I was working. Four nights a week I worked from midnight until 8am, up when even my baby was sleeping. I had no paid leave. I had no choice. I shouldn’t have had to choose between my child, and my livelihood.
“Change is why we are here today. We are here together today to celebrate the progress we have made, but also recognize how far there is to go.
“We also are here to celebrate women who have changed—and are changing—history. There are so many women here today that I am humbled to stand alongside. None more so than our very own Vice President of the United States. Because of our Vice President, I get to tell my daughter that she too can aim for the highest office of the land.”
The event was hosted by the pool at the Vice President’s residence, and the women in attendance were encouraged by the Vice President to network with the “phenomenal group of women who are here.” She told the crowd: “This is a powerful group of people, who are national leaders, and global leaders, and I am honored to be able to welcome you all to this home.”