KEY POINTS

  • Through musical appearances and swearing-ins, women were a constant presence at the inauguration
  • Biden's Cabinet is also very representative, with more women than at least the last six administrations
  • The Cabinet will include the first Native American to run the Interior Department and the first woman to head the Treasury Department

Joe Biden’s administration promises to put women center stage as it confronts the challenges facing a nation besieged by crises.  

Women dominated the schedule of the inauguration, with Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota ringing in the ceremony and providing transitions between the various speakers. Pop icons Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga performed ahead of the swearing-in, during which Vice President Kamala Harris took her oath of office from Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. 

The presence of women, especially women of color, ran throughout the ceremony. Statements from Biden and Harris confirm it’s no accident. Harris said in her Nov. 7 victory speech she aimed to be only the latest woman to achieve high office.

“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” she said. 

US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks during an announcement January 16, 2021 in Wilmington, Delaware; she has vowed to 'do the job we were hired to do' US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks during an announcement January 16, 2021 in Wilmington, Delaware; she has vowed to 'do the job we were hired to do' Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / ALEX WONG

The influence of women in the Biden administration extends to his cabinet and staff, which contain more women than the capital has seen in at least six administrations. Biden is well aware that minorities comprise a disproportionate part of his electoral coalition, and aims to show them that their voices will be heard.

Biden chose women for five of his top Cabinet picks: Janet Yellen heading the Treasury Department, Deb Haaland with the Interior Department, Gina Raimondo for the Commerce Department, Jennifer Granholm for the Energy Department and Marcia Fudge for the Department of Housing And Urban Development.

Haaland would be the first Native American to head the Interior Department, and Yellen has made headlines as the first woman to run the Treasury.

Yellen plans to push for higher taxes and a stimulus for the pandemic-ravaged economy.

“We look forward to working with other countries on taxes on multinational corporations to try to stop what has been a destructive, global race to the bottom on corporate taxation,” she said Tuesday.