Empowering Gen Z Women: Activism, Diversity, and Making a Difference in Today's World
Generation Z, although we need no introduction, has been a driving force in advocating for social justice and equality for the past few years and we as women have been heavy-hitters since the start.
Your average Gen Z woman is a radical one, socially-conscious and on a quest to not just improve the aspects of her life where her own personal interests are concerned, but for her society as a whole. We see it often through a girl’s topically-relevant Instagram posts, her links to various resources, and the content that she creates on Tik-Tok and Twitter, where she organizes rallies and protests, creates campaigns and petitions, and mobilizes around issues that matter most to her.
She is powerful and, above all, empowered.
Our generation is wide awake, having grown up during the Opioid Crisis, non-stop school shootings, Black Lives Matter, and Me Too. We’ve been calling for change and getting results.
Being more diverse than any previous generation, Gen Z has a stronger, more vested interest in diversity and inclusion, in a way that encompasses race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, and class systems. In doing so, we are hard at work challenging traditional notions of beauty, body image, and gender roles by demanding better representation in all facets of society.
But the work of an activist isn’t an easy one. In fact, it can be downright exhausting. Our current climate can be pretty unforgiving towards young people, putting immense pressure on us to “save the planet” through our efforts to end climate change and to stop gun violence in America. Heavy burdens have been placed on us to fix age-old mistakes.
Young activists aren’t anything new. (The youth activists of the 60s and 70s that fought for civil rights, women’s rights, and gay liberation all come to mind). But today, activism looks different. The average young person being a force for change in their daily lives, with a readily-available platform that they regularly speak out on, is what Delaney Tarr from March for Our Lives refers to as “a 21st Century Celebrity: The Youth Activist.”
Yet, in many ways, it is an unfair expectation to put on us and renders us, as intrepid young, female activists, exhausted and overwhelmed.
Taking up activism is like taking on a second job, yet it is not often treated as one. In recent years, we have been placing an emphasis on self-care and prioritizing mental health when it comes to not letting our jobs kill us, but we have said very little about not being destroyed by our efforts to make a difference in today’s world.
Combat this by prioritizing yourself. Self-care and self-love are foundational for general wellness, making them essential for the activist lifestyle. Taking breaks, learning to say NO, and being forgiving towards ourselves when we need to stop are all important parts of the daily lives of a Gen Z woman’s activism.
We need to take care of ourselves in order to continuously feel empowered as we take on the emotional labor of “fighting the good fight.” We need to be able to step into leadership roles, having proven ourselves capable of taking the lead when it comes to activism and making a difference in today’s world.