Three women tried unsuccessfully to break the glass ceiling to reach the top positions of the US, one as president and two as vice presidents, and finally Kamala Harris has managed to smash it.
Hillary Clinton ran for president in 2016 but was defeated by Donald Trump on the basis of the Electoral College votes although she got more popular votes than him.
Geraldine Ferraro was the Democrat Party vice presidential candidate in 1984 running with Walter Mondale, the presidential candidate. They ran against a very popular president, Ronald Reagan, and his Vice President George H.W. Bush, who defeated them in a landslide.
Republican Sara Palin, considered a political lightweight, ran for vice president in 2008 with the presidential candidate John McCain. They lost to Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Palin was the governor of Alaska state with no experience in national politics or international affairs and her campaign was punctuated by gaffes.
There have been other women running for president and vice president but they were from smaller parties with no chance of election.
Harris was not the only vice president candidate of Indian origin in the 2020 election. Sunil Freeman, whose mother is an immigrant from India, ran for vice president on the ticket of the Party for Socialism and Liberation with presidential candidate Gloria La Riva. They received 84,905 votes or 0.01 per cent.
The many identities of the first woman vice-president
In a video posted to her social media she shares the news with President-elect Joe Biden: “We did it, we did it Joe. You’re going to be the next president of the United States!”
Her words are about him but the history of the moment is hers.
Just over a year ago, as the senator from California hoping to win the Democratic nomination for presidency, she launched a potent attack on Joe Biden over race during a debate. Many thought it inflicted a serious blow on his ambitions. But by the end of the year her campaign was dead and it was Mr Biden who returned the 56-year-old to the national spotlight by putting her on his ticket.
“It is a big reversal of fortune for Kamala Harris,” says Gil Duran, a communications director for Ms Harris in 2013 and who has critiqued her run for the presidential nomination.
“Many people didn’t think she had the discipline and focus to ascend to a position in the White House so quickly… although people knew she had ambition and star potential. It was always clear that she had the raw talent.”
What she has demonstrated from the moment she took the national stage with her pitch for the presidency – is grit.
(Picture: ABC News)