27/4/2017 - 11:10 am

Millennials: Taking the Lead For Gender Equality

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Gender equality, as a concept, has been around for centuries. The struggle to bring this concept to life has been long and is still unfinished, as in everyday life males and females still fail to see and treat each other as equals. The first steps to achieve gender equality were made during the late 19th and early 20th centuries by allowing women to vote. Now, more than a century later, where do we stand? Is gender equality a reachable goal, and how will Millennials, as the leading force and largest demographic in the world today, tackle this issue?

One might instantly think that the most educated generation in the history of the world will be completely supportive of the concept of gender equality as well as willing and prepared to resolve this issue once and for all. As we all know, Millennials are not noted as a highly patient generation. However according to the results of research conducted by the Council on Contemporary Families the idea of gender equality is still not appealing to all young people. The survey showed that a large percentage of men aged between 18 and 25 still have a rather traditional view of women's role in society. The study was conducted in 2014, and it showed that a lot of men agree with the idea that it's better for everyone if the man is the breadwinner and the woman is the caregiver. Shockingly, 45 percent of Millennial males supported this statement, while the same study conducted in 1994 showed that less than 20 percent of males aged 18 to 25 agreed with this point of view. Does this mean we have taken a few steps backward in the last few decades?

Despite the fact that this traditional view of the role of men and women in society still has its supporters even among young adults, the future, with Millennials in charge, still looks quite bright. Nielsen research, conducted in 2017, showed that Millennial women are more optimistic about their opportunities for career-building than earlier generations. It is sadly still true that in most parts of the world women are paid less than their male colleagues, but Millennial women are not willing to give up on the fight to ensure equality in society. New study results have also shown that two-thirds of their target research group – Millennials – think that it is still easier for men to get promotions and advance in their professional careers, however the same study showed that Millennial women are much more ambitious than the men from their generation. An aspiration to have a leading position was reported by 34 percent of Millennial women while only 24 percent of male Millennials showed an interest in leadership jobs. (http://www.theatlantic.com/sponsored/prudential-sleeping-giants/millennials-and-gender-a-major-attitude-shift/467/) So will this potential shift in the gender of leaders have a positive effect on the overall goal of reaching gender equality?

The Millennial generation, with all its faults and glories, is an unapologetic group of young adults who have a very clear vision of what they do not want for their future. One of the things that the majority of this generation would list as an unwanted future scenario is a future in which traditional lifestyles are maintained at all costs. The youth of today have their eyes set on one goal, and that is to break free from all of the conventional norms of the society that we know. These may be small victories and battles undertaken by young people all over the world, but progress is clearly visible. The fight for gender equality has been taken to a very personal level with this generation, as they perceive it also as a fight for their own future. So we see Millennials not getting married at the same age as their parents, we see them not pursuing homeownership at all costs, we see them even dating in a completely different manner from what earlier generations considered customary. The digital era has introduced so many tools for young adults that it would be sad and disturbing if the coming generations decided to follow their parents’ footsteps. So where is gender equality, and will we reach it? It is closer than you think; manifested in each aspiring young female Millennial CEO, in the yearly revenues of menswear companies that continue to grow as fashion is no longer reserved just for women, and confirmed in the rising number of online dating sites that break the stereotypes of “guys have to make the first step”. Millennials, especially the female component of the generation, are clearly taking the matter of gender equality into their own hands. The results are yet to be fully realized, but judging by their accomplishments so far, failure is not an option.

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Read 707 times Last modified on 9/5/2017 - 1:48 pm
Lejla Becar

Lejla Becar is an MA candidate in archaeology from Bosnia and Herzegovina. She is an activist, working for several international NGOs focusing on human rights particularity freedom of expression. Her other passions include arts, traveling, basketball, cultural heritage conservation and restoration.

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