How Jill Biden will make history in the White House

·Features and Health Editor
·2-min read

Jill Biden could make history in the White House by keeping her full-time job as a professor while also being the First Lady of the United States.

The 69-year-old has regularly been praised for her commitment to education, having worked as a public school teacher for 20 years.

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - OCTOBER 31: Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden, speaks on October 31, 2020 in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is in North Carolina campaigning for former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris ahead of the 2020 Presidential election on November 3, 2020 (Photo by Jeff Hahne/Getty Images)
Jill Biden will make history in the White House. Photo: Getty

“Most American women have both a work life and a family life, but first ladies have never been allowed to do so,” Katherine Jellison, a history professor at Ohio University said.

“Maybe the time has come, however, when more Americans will feel comfortable with a first lady who isn't on-call at the White House 24/7.”

As first lady, Jill is expected to work on education issues and relaunch Joining Forces, a mission to rally around military families that she and Michelle Obama started in 2011.


Husband Joe Biden paid tribute to his wife and her teaching role in his acceptance speech.

“Teaching isn’t just what she does — it’s who she is,” he said.

“For America’s educators, this is a great day: You’re going to have one of your own in the White House, and Jill is going to make a great First Lady.”

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE - NOVEMBER 07:  President-elect Joe Biden and Jill Biden wave to the crowd after Biden's address to the nation from the Chase Center November 07, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. After four days of counting the high volume of mail-in ballots in key battleground states due to the coronavirus pandemic, the race was called for Biden after a contentious election battle against incumbent Republican President Donald Trump. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Joe paid tribute to his wife's teaching during his acceptance speech. Photo: Getty

Experts however, say juggling the hectic schedule of teaching and working out of the East Wing will prove ‘challenging’, particularly if she faces backlash from people who may prefer a more traditional first lady.

“If Biden continues to teach, she will forever change the expectations and limitations of the position,” Kate Andersen Brower, author of First Women: The Grace & Power of America's Modern First Ladies told AFP.

“I think it could prove challenging, balancing a job and the tremendous work of the first lady, but I also think it will expand our ideas of what first ladies are capable of.”

Professor Katherine Jellison also warned Jill could face backlash from those wanting a more traditional first lady, but she and Kate agreed the time has come for a change.

“We will surely have a male presidential spouse one day and I don't think anyone would expect him to give up his day job," Kate said.

Additional reporting by AFP.

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