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Priyanka Chopra, Kamala Harris, The White House, and why Young Women should take note

Praneeta Mahajan

Praneeta Mahajan

Hamilton, 10 October 2022

Priyanka Chopra with US Vice President Kamala Harris (Instagram image)

After a successful address at the UN General Assembly, Priyanka Chopra Jonas moderated a session at the Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Forum in Washington where she held a conversation with US Vice President Kamala Harris on various issues, including abortion laws, pay parity, and gun reforms in America.

Priyanka had cheered for Kamala Harris when she became the first Female Vice President in the history of U.S. During her appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, she had said, “It was such an emotional moment for a lot of my friends and family but coming from a country like India which has seen several women in governance, whether it is President, Prime Minister..You know, welcome to the club, America. That’s what I’ll say. High time, I hope this isn’t the last.”

India Connect

During her address at the White House, she started by reminiscing on how India had already seen female leaders, from twice elected Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to the Current President Draupadi Murmu, and said it was baffling how the US had still not shattered the final glass ceiling of having a female US President.

She emphasised the importance of using our right to vote. She said that while she is not voting in US, her daughter would one day vote in the country.

Priyanka then welcomed Vice President kamala Harris and went on to say they were both daughters of India.

US and issues that are concerning

Priyanka said that US was known to be the beacon of hope, freedom and choice. But issues like pay parity, marriage equality & reproductive rights were still required to be addressed.

Ms Harris replied by saying that recent events surrounding these very issues have caused distress and anger in the part of the society which was paying attention and cared. She said fight for civil rights need to be fought with every generation as any gains made are not permanent by very nature of it. But there is a sense of optimism, as time and again, people have come together and worked out a way forward, to make society better.

 Priyanka Chopra Jonas addresses the gathering at the White House (Instagram image)

Message to Young Women

When asked, kamala Harris said that her message to young women across the world was to “Dream with Ambition”. She said that as a society, we need to encourage ambition and tell our young minds, especially women that we applauded it. She said young people do not have to be apologetic in dreaming and believing in themselves.

She said nations around the World need to feed the sense of possibilities, regardless of gender. We need to tell the youth that there is no limit to what one can do.

Kamala Harris went on to say that One should and can measure strength of a democracy based on the status of women in that democracy. It is a universal conversation and needs to take place in every sphere of life.

Talking about women in leadership roles, she said “You will often find yourself as the only one walking into a room as a woman. But you are never alone as you carry many voices of women like you. So never let the room hold you down. You stand for something and it is very important to have your say and hold your ground.”

New Zealand Connection

In regards to the abortion rights, Kamala Harris said that in the US, certain leaders were “punishing women for being women” and it was an urgency to address these matters before it had global repercussions using US as a role model. US currently has abortion banned in 13 states as laws restricting the procedure take effect following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The situation is a polar opposite to New Zealand, where a recent amendment was made to decriminalize abortion. Under the act, abortion is available without restrictions to any woman who is not more than 20 weeks pregnant.

Many young people in New Zealand still feel like there are many issues they would like to be addressed, and it is important for every global citizen, especially young people, to see how the World stage is changing with strong voices from women leaders being heard and acknowledged.

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