“Your generation is constantly mad about everything all the time! You have to calm the F train down.” I’ve heard a rendition of this phrase from any boomer, Gen Xer or ever elder millennial I’ve tried to have a serious conversation with. On current topics involving climate change, human rights issues and socio-economic issues. Yes, I am angry, my entire generation is. But this isn’t a childish tantrum we are throwing around. This is a genuine concern about whether a country can survive another decade in political turmoil. A genuine concern about whether the Earth can handle any more fires. This is a genuine concern about survival.
Who are we?
I am a part of Generation Z – a demographic faction born between 1995 and 2012. McKinsey & Company took special interest in Generation Z since “it is the first generation to have been exposed to technology from the youngest age.” Tracy Francis and Fernanda Hoefel conducted a study on the influence of Gen Z. This study reveals core behaviors and characteristics such as a value for individual expression and a strong desire to solve conflict and improve the world. Being a generation that has been provided an amalgamation of virtual as well as personal experiences, Gen Z has become a cohort predisposed to using this abundance of information towards one goal – the search for truth. No wonder every piece of news affects us. Nevertheless, being a Gen Zer and having the privilege to grow up in this dynamic environment, my concern for issues comes from my hope for future generations to be able to experience the same, if not better.
An illustration: Women’s safety in India
India is the fifth largest economy in the world by nominal GDP. It is one of the founding members of the United Nations and has played a significant role in implementing the goals of the UN Charter. However, in 2018 India was also ranked the most dangerous country for women due to high risk of sexual violence and slave labor. These issues cannot exist in silos. India’s economy cannot grow if almost half the population is paranoid about the safety in their commute from work to home. The youth of India is furious for women’s rights, because we are worried for our sisters, daughters and friends. They are trying to do what it takes to make a change for their loved ones.
Gender inequality has been an issue in India for centuries and stems from the deep-rooted traditions in our country. It’s easy to say that this cannot be changed. Change is never easy. But we’re not here for the easy. We’ll do it one person at a time. Including women’s rights related issues in everyday conversation to help promote gender equality at a small scale. We are passionate enough to make this a daily goal until our spoken word echoes through the population. The flight for gender inequity is far from done. But we won’t rest until women, instead of worrying about their safety, can hustle harder and become contributors to the economy.
Too much too young?
Kids learn from high school, sometimes middle school, that they need to work towards building a future, whether it is practicing a sport that will get them drafted into the big leagues or whether it is acing the science classes to get into medical school. Since, we are told to be serious about our future from such a young age, it would only seem counterintuitive to question our passion about current issues. We are sincere about sustaining our surroundings and we are passionate about preserving it. In fact, our generation cares so much about the social, environmental and political issues that envelops us, that we might just be able to make a change. Greta Thunberg, Malala Yousafzai, Yara Shahidi and countless other youth activists have already begun their battle. Dealing with issues such as global warming, female empowerment and education for all. They have portrayed that there is no age limit to make a change.
To all Gen Zers, if anyone doubts your ability to make a change, be like Phineas and Ferb. In every episode of the show, people would ask the duo, “Aren’t you a little too young to be doing this?” They’d simply answer “Yes, yes we are”, and continue with their plans. If you’re passionate about a social issue, talk about it and create awareness for it. If people sense anger in your tone, it’s because you care. These issues affect all living things and that makes this personal. It’s ok to have a sense of urgency in trying to solve them. Let’s be the generation that’s passionate enough to make a change.
About The Author
Deepa Chandrachud recently completed her Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Bentley University. She is deeply passionate about gender equality and hopes to use this platform to create more awareness about issues pertaining to women’s rights.
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