Feminist Advocacy and Generation Y

By Chelsea Feuchs, JWI Intern

Recently, I attended a rally in Washington DC to support equal pay for women.  As an intern, I was excited to see democracy in action in this political city.  My original excitement fizzled a bit when I realized the majority of the crowd was comprised of women much older than I am.  The few advocates my age were all fellow interns, sent by their organizations, but nowhere did I see teenagers or college-aged people rallying completely of their own accord.  This made me wonder: what is the state of feminist advocacy among Generation Y?

Equal pay for equal work does not strike a chord with my peers; in fact, it is viewed as a passé feminist issue, a phrase chanted by our foremothers, but not even tweeted by us.  We grew up exceeding the boys in class, playing all the same sports (thank you Title IX), and expecting that previous generations had already fought for all the equality we would need.

Unfortunately, our perception does not match reality.  Women still make 77 cents on average for every dollar a man makes.

But before you or I write off Generation Y as lazy or dispassionate, consider the tremendous amount of power at our fingertips.  We have mastered social networking and can disseminate information at the speed of light.  Our opinions and dollars drive the economy and our vote is coveted.  All we need to do is channel that power.

We must realize that while the tactics of previous feminists may not work for us, the problems they faced still exist in a large part today.  That is why, decades later, we are still fighting for equal pay.  And you, whatever generation you are from, can show that we are not backing down in 2012 by supporting the Equal Employment Opportunity Restoration Act (EEORA).  Ask your congressperson, in person, over the phone, or through email to support this legislation.  Find your voice and make it heard, whatever way you can.

3 responses to “Feminist Advocacy and Generation Y

  1. Ron F - Cross River, NY

    Very good point about Gen Y. Hopefully this encourages some action and participation. Love the oy vey sign!

  2. Sandra M - Cross River, NY

    Since Gen Y women are much more likely to be employed in equal pay job sectors than are their predecessors, I believe what’s at issue is a generational lack of awareness. Your article does, however, beg the question: “am I my sister’s keeper” – a moral issue that has no age boundary.

  3. It is the acceptance of younger women that ‘Post-Feminism’ exists that is one of the problems.
    Evidences of this are in the ridiculous cult of higher and higher-heeled shoes that so many prominent women apparently delight in wearing- even though they can barely walk in them- and in the belief that it is ok to wear beach-type clothes to the office..
    I don’t think many younger women today have even read any of the early statements of feminism, or thought about how the suffragettes fought for the vote.
    We also need to be aware of the facts that worldwide it is actually dangerous to be a female- from foetuses aborted for being female, in countries- and not only- in India and China, thanks to ‘advances’ in modern medicine-to girl children being fed less well than their brothers, to girls not getting even a primary education because their parents can’t afford it; to girls not being able to go to school because there is no money for sanitary wear- and so they drop out after missing schooling each month; to girls being married from as early as 9 years old to men much older than themselves, because their parents can’t ‘afford’ their dowries,; that many young women in countries like Ethiopia , giving birth too young, because married too young, often die in childbirth, together with their child, or suffer horrendous injuries because their bodies are not up to the strain of giving birth; to young brides dying in kitchen fires in India, supposedly because of their carelessness with the cooking oil, but actually because the dowry they gave was insufficient for their bridegroom’s- or their parents-in-laws’ greed!

    I have seen documentation for all these facts- google Womankind.

    Greetings to you all from an aged feminist.

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