Meena Harris talks her new e-book ‘Formidable Woman’: Interview

  • Meena Harris, niece of elected Vice President Kamala Harris, has written her second children’s book entitled “Ambitious Women”. The illustrations come from the artist Marissa Valdez.
  • In the book, a young girl watches how a woman is labeled “too ambitious” and “too assertive” on television. In response, she vows to become a stubborn, confident, confident, and proud person.
  • Harris worked to bring this book – in addition to her last – to school and has partnered with the nonprofit We Need Diverse Books to donate hundreds of copies of the book to educators and students.
  • Prior to her aunt’s inauguration, Harris speaks to Insider about her new book and what it takes to raise the next generation of ambitious women.
  • You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.

The plight of a woman who is not apologetically ambitious is well documented. Meena Harris is one of those women.

The entrepreneur founded Phenomenal Woman, which develops products against socio-political injustice and has another career as a children’s book author. Her latest endeavor is a children’s book entitled “Ambitious Girl”. The book is due for release on January 19th and tells the story of a young girl who is learning to embrace her ambitions in life.

The book comes out one year after Harris’ first book, Kamala and Maya’s Great Idea, was published, which was inspired by her mother Maya and her aunt, the elected Vice President Kamala Harris. (This became a New York Times bestseller, and more recently, a video Meena posted of her aunt topped 10 million views on TikTok.)

“For young girls it really is an incredible feeling to see someone who looks like they have been elected to the second highest office in the country that we have all fought for a very long time,” she told Insider. Meena Harris previously spoke to Insider about her career paths and growing up in a family of lawyers – ambitious women who inspired her to become who she is today.

When it comes to women, the word ambition often has a negative connotation, Harris said. Last year, Insider reported on a study by American Express and the New York Women’s Foundation that found that many women were reluctant to use the word “ambitious” to describe themselves and wanted to use the word “motivated” instead .

Continue reading: Alicia Keys partners with American Express on ‘The Ambition Project’ to empower women. Here’s how you can expand your access to leadership positions – and you already have.

“Language has power and words have meaning,” Harris told Insider. “We don’t usually hear ambition used against men or used to criticize men. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that before. It’s about reclaiming and redefining words that we know when they’re just words . ” You have power. “

Before her aunt’s big day, Meena Harris spoke to Insider about her new children’s book, what she’s learned in a powerhouse family, and what it takes to raise the next generation of ambitious women.

“It’s not just women’s work to work for other women,” Harris said

Raising ambitious women starts earlier than expected, which is why Harris decided to put the subject in a children’s book. “There is a lot of unlearning and relearning our prejudices against ambitious women and women in power,” she said. “It’s never too early.”

Her family always tried to lead by example when it came to inspiring one another, she said. Ambition was a good thing in her family – and ambitious women were all she knew.

“I grew up in a family of strong, ambitious women,” she said. “My grandmother Shyamala, a cancer researcher and civil rights activist, raised my mother and aunt – and later helped raise me – to fight for change and be role models for others,” she said. “She said to us: ‘You may be the first, but not the last. It’s actually a line that I put in my new book’ Ambitious Girl ‘.” “

After graduating from Stanford University and Harvard Law, she had a brief legal career and served with both

Relaxed
and over. As reported by Jessica Testa of the New York Times, she was also a campaign surrogate for her aunt. Upon entering the workplace, she found from Insider that many women were not raised to see ambition as a good thing.

Continue reading: Kamala Harris’s niece publishes a picture book about the ambition of women. She told us why she never “glosses over” the reality of racism and sexism when talking to her children.

“It is a very rewarding activity to sit down with your children and start defining these words early on,” she said. “When it comes to leading by example, there are many ways you can demonstrate what it means. And at least encourage them to understand [ambition] as positive, not negative. ”

Ambitious girl cover picture


Courtesy LaRue PR

In her latest book, a young girl takes advice from the women around her, including her mother and grandmother, who teach her the importance of growing up confident, confident, and proud. Harris said that listening to other people’s dreams and career paths is a great way to teach people how to embrace their own ambitions. It shows that ambition is not a “dirty” word and dreams are not a “bad” thing.

This is a lesson that must be taught not just to young women, but to everyone, she said. Because creating an environment that can nurture ambitious women is not left to women. This act requires complete social and cultural change, Harris said.

“It’s about a patriarchal society,” she continued. “It’s not just women’s work to work for other women. Men who by default have more power in the world and in most of these systems, it’s up to them to do so too.”

In the meantime, to be ambitious, all women just don’t have to hide their ambition, she said. It’s about wearing that sweatshirt that has the word ambitious on it, she said. It’s about naming what you want and claiming it for yourself – writing your dreams and building on what you want. For example, Harris has plans to bring out more books. “There is still so much to be done, especially when it comes to increasing diversity in the publishing industry,” she said. “I definitely have plans for more books – I can’t wait to explore topics for an older audience too.”

It’s about changing the language associated with your dreams to reflect the positivity of what it means to aspire. “This is literally as cheesy as it sounds, but what are your hopes and dreams?” She said. “The nice thing about it is that it means different things to so many different people.”

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