Gen Z May Be the Socially Conscious Generation of Girls Yet

New research finds teen girls feel empowered to create change—and are already doing it.

Who run the world? Gen Z girls. A new study suggests that young women aged 14 to 19 might be the most socially and politically conscious of any generation yet, and that they're ready to make global change.

The study, conducted by Girl Up, the UN Foundation organization working to empower girls worldwide (opens in new tab), in collaboration with Marie Claire, surveyed over 3,500 girls across seven countries and three languages. It found that Gen Z girls are nuanced, complex, multifaceted, and total bosses—they're seeking to change the world while they're still finding themselves. Gen Z girls want to stand up, but not necessarily stand out. They have defined social and political values—and those values impact which brands they choose to shop. They are fiercely independent, but still value and seek out support. This generation doesn't just feel empowered enough to create change, they're already doing it.

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(Image credit: Girl Up/Marie Claire)

According to the survey:

  • 70 percent of Gen Z girls believe their lives need to make a difference in the world
  • 75 percent believe there needs to be a more open dialogue about mental health
  • While 42 percent feel they have access to STEM fields, 81 percent think being given an equal STEM education to boys is important

These girls value their beliefs so strongly that it’s changing the ways they interact with the world. Sixty percent feel they are not accurately represented by the media (which isn’t surprising in this age of #fakenews), and they are taking a stand by changing the way they shop.

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(Image credit: Girl Up/Marie Claire)

Though many Gen Z girls haven’t even gradated high school yet, one thing is certain: They shouldn't be underestimated.

Megan DiTrolio is the editor of features and special projects at Marie Claire, where she oversees all career coverage and writes and edits stories on women’s issues, politics, cultural trends, and more. In addition to editing feature stories, she programs Marie Claire’s annual Power Trip conference and Marie Claire’s Getting Down To Business Instagram Live franchise.