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Adrienne Lawrence

Legal analyst, law professor & award-winning author

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Gen Z women must fight for their rights

Apr 3

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Gen Z, the first “digital native” U.S. generation, is entering the workforce, studying at university and serving in the military. From school shootings and cyber-bullying to COVID-19 and the overturning of Roe v. Wade, this generation has been shaped by unique trends and events, and how they will behave as citizens and voters is an important question for society.

Straight Arrow News contributor Adrienne Lawrence looks at new polling data to predict a clash within this generation and a political divergence based on gender, with Gen Z women becoming much more liberal and Gen Z men becoming much more conservative. Lawrence paints a bleak picture for those hoping to resolve political differences in the years ahead but suggests that this clash might be necessary for the long-term advancement of women’s rights.

The 2024 presidential election could not come fast enough. Between Joe Biden age bashing and Donald Trump fascism fawning, the political landscape is nothing short of perverse. Then again, it’s what arguably a reflection of our society? So when I learned about a recent Gallup poll reporting that there’s now a 30-point difference between the number of women under 30 who identify as liberal and the number of men in that same demographic, I was not shocked. But I was scared.

This growing political divergence among Gen Z’s two largest gender groups suggests that a significant power struggle lies ahead. And so, if we want rights and opportunities for women to progress, the Left must be duly prepared for the rise in backlash from conservative young men.

Our country seems to openly recognize that the U.S. was founded upon racism, primarily anti-Blackness. What’s often omitted from that truth, however, is that the subjugation of women is also a foundational aspect of our nation. If that weren’t true, and women were treated equally, well, the actually qualified candidate would have been sworn in as president on January 20, 2017. But I digress.

Whether it’s through exploiting religious scriptures or weaponizing sexual violence, holding women down is how the U.S. gets down. But the women of Gen Z are not down for it. As the recent Gallup poll notes, women under 30 are becoming much, much more liberal than in past years, whereas young men are becoming much more conservative and anti-feminist, that is, opposed to gender equality.

The 2024 presidential election could not come fast enough. Between Joe Biden age bashing and Donald Trump fascism fawning, the political landscape is nothing short of perverse. Then again, it’s what, arguably a reflection of our society? So when I learned about a recent Gallup poll reporting that there’s now a 30 point difference between the number of women under 30 who identify as liberal and the number of men in that same demographic, I was not shocked. But I was scared.

 

This growing political divergence among Gen Z’s two largest gender groups suggests that a significant power struggle lies ahead. And so, if we want rights and opportunities for women to progress, the Left must be duly prepared for the rise in backlash from conservative young men.

 

Our country seems to openly recognize that the U.S. was founded upon racism, primarily anti-Blackness. What’s often omitted from that truth, however, is that the subjugation of women is also a foundational aspect of our nation. If that weren’t true, and women were treated equally, well, the actually qualified candidate would have been sworn in as president on January 20, 2017. But I digress.

 

Whether it’s through exploiting religious scriptures or weaponizing sexual violence, holding women down is how the U.S. gets down. But the women of Gen Z are not down for it. As the recent Gallup poll notes, women under 30 are becoming much, much more liberal than in past years, whereas young men are becoming much more conservative and anti-feminist, that is, opposed to gender equality.

 

As Alice Evans, a Stanford University fellow researching the topic said, today’s under 30s are undergoing a great gender divergence. Set another way Gen Z isn’t one generation, but to this divide is the product of an awakening, more young women than ever before are emancipating from patriarchy. Unlike past generations, women under 30 have always had access to credit and loans without requiring a man’s approval. they’ve enjoyed a choice and prophylactics. They can use their voices and mobilize via the megaphones that we call social media. That being said, Gen Z women also have seen adults vote a sexual predator and Predator into office. They’ve seen women who kept secrets and finally speaking up during me too, and they’ve observed rollbacks on abortion rights. This upcoming generation of women want a better world for themselves, where they’re in control of their destinies, and they have opportunities that are equal to that of men. That realization scares many of these men under 30, as so many of them do not want want women to be liberated. They don’t want to have to compete based on merit in the workforce, or to have to become desirable partners in the homefront. These Gen Z men are leaning into the right because they apparently think they have a right to control women. And this gender divide or this awakening isn’t just in the United States, researchers have found similar ideological gaps growing between women and men in Germany, the UK, South Korea, China, this shift is everywhere. But the responses to this growing ideological divergence along gender lines is what will differ. In the United States. We’ve seen violence emerge when a marginalized group doesn’t know its place. And we’re seeing that now when it comes to women. Look at what’s going on in New York City where men are randomly punching women in the face on the streets. In schools across the country. The rise in AI generated nudes of girls is becoming endemic women are under attack because they’re women. According to research done by the Violence Policy Center of all femicide cases in high income countries, 70% of them occur in the United States. Three women are killed by intimate partners every day in this country on a global scale, the US ranks 34th and intentional female homicides. And the staggering statistics confirm that violence against women is a pervasive problem in the US. And that problem will only worsen as women continue to demand privileges equal to men. Regardless, those privileges are what women deserve. We are half the population. We’re also the dominant group really responsible for creating the population. We shouldn’t be groveling for 82 cents on the dollar for an equal day’s labor, nor should we be compelled to remain silent when our safety is threatened. Women of Gen Z feel that and they know that they deserve equity. We must join them staying ready so that we need not get ready. That means pushing for legislation that codifies the right to abortion seeking prosecution where labor laws are violated running for office, checking our own internalized biases so that we can truly work together. We must speak life to our daughters and sons demand they demand and do better. It may not live to see the day when women are treated equally in this country. But I can help support Gen Z women in the fight for equality regardless of whether or not it bruises the ego of their male counterparts, knowing men often turn to violence when women will not stay in their place. I am scared. Yes, I’m scared about what the Gallup poll results foreshadow, as we know that men will often use means necessary to maintain the status quo. At the same time, I am equally if not more excited about the possibility that gender parity will someday come to fruition. If it’s not what the Gen Z generation and perhaps the one after next.

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