During the U.S. vice presidential debate in October, Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence squared off in fairly typical fashion: for 90 minutes they contradicted each other, selectively answered the moderator’s questions, and interrupted each other—with Pence doing so at twice the rate of Harris. “Mr. Vice President,” Harris would say each time, reclaiming the mic, “I’m speaking.”
The comeback launched a thousand memes (and even a handful of T-shirts), but it also became a rallying cry for women across America. One month after the debate, Senator Harris became the first woman, first Black American and first Asian American to be elected vice president—an unprecedented trifecta of firsts for California Senator Harris.
Her rapid ascension in U.S. politics has also catapulted her onto the Forbes list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women for the first time; she makes her debut at No. 3, right below German Chancellor Angela Merkel (ranking No. 1 for the tenth year in a row) and European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde (No. 2 for the second straight year).