The two women were introduced before Biden’s address and bumped elbows when they reached the podium. Pelosi told Yahoo News that “it’s about time,” women lead both houses. President Biden wasted little time paying tribute to the historic moment in his opening remarks.
“Thank you all — Madame Speaker, Madame Vice President,” Biden said before laying out his goals. “From this podium, no president’s ever said those words — and it’s about time.”
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain also commented on the historic moment last week during a conversation with Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service.
“For the first time in American history, behind the President when he speaks, will be two women: a woman vice president, and woman speaker of the House. Presidents have been addressing Congress since George Washington did it,” Klain said. “It wasn’t until 14 years ago that the first time one of those seats was filled by a woman. So it took a long time to get to that milestone. Fourteen years later, for the first time, there’ll be two women behind the President.”
When asked about the historic moment Harris described it as “normal” but that might be because the Biden-Harris administration is mostly female.
The administration nominated 233 individuals to serve in Senate-confirmed roles in the first 100 days, more than any previous administration has nominated in the same time frame.
Many of these appointments include not just women, but women of color. Women serving the Biden-Harris administration include Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, Council of Economic Advisers Chair Cecilia Rouse, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, Assistant Secretary of Health Rachel Levine, and Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Stacey Dixon.
According to a White House release, 58% of the 1,500 agency appointees hired by President Biden are women. Diversity in race is also well-represented as 18% identify as Black Americans, 15% identify as Latino, 15% identify as Asian American or Pacific Islander, 3% identify as Middle Eastern or North African, and 14% identify as LGBTQ+.