Check out the video above from the YWCA’s OWN IT initiative. For some reason, you don’t often hear about what young women think and what younger women want. We especially don’t hear enough about what black women really think and want. The YWCA recently did a survey and had some interesting findings that provide some insight, I think, into the future of America. Short version: Gen Y gets it and wants an active administration including a First Lady who’s a real leader to create change we can see in our everyday lives — Including on the subjects of fair pay and racial justice. Obama Transition Team: listen up. Here’s some selected deets:

• Three-quarters (77%) of young women (aged 18-29) say that “civil rights and racial
justice” should be a top priority for the new administration to address in the first year,
compared with half (54%) of older women (aged 30-70).

• Young women are more likely than older women to say that discrimination against
Blacks (42% vs. 24%) and Hispanics (28% vs. 18%) is a “very serious” problem in the
U.S. today.

• Despite progress, Generation Y women say that discrimination will be a major obstacle
to the progress of women like them over the next ten years.  Half (50%) of Generation
Y women say that racism or discrimination based on ethnicity or religion will be major
obstacles to the progress of women like them over the next ten years, compared with
three in 10 older women (aged 30-70).

• Generation Y women (aged 18-29) are likely to be more demanding of the new
administration than older women.  Significantly more young women say that the new
administration must make several domestic issues “top priority” in the first year than older
women, including healthcare reform (87% v. 76%), quality and cost of education (85% v.
76%), the housing crisis (83% v. 69%) and HIV/AIDS (66% v.45%).

• Women say that lack of jobs and other economic uncertainties are potentially the
greatest barriers to progress for women over the next ten years. Women say the top
barriers to progress for women like them are:
o Lack of retirement savings (70%)
o Major illness or medical expense (68%)
o Lack of jobs or layoffs due to jobs sent overseas (63%)
o Cost of college (60%)
o Lack of affordable and accessible childcare, tied with unequal pay (59%)

• Black women are more likely than White women to see major obstacles to the progress
of women like them over the next decade from all issues provided, except credit card
debt, in which Black and White women share similar concerns. The top of the list
includes: major illness or medical expense (84% v. 68%), unequal pay (81% v. 55%),
lack of retirement savings (78% v. 69%), lack of jobs and layoffs due to jobs sent
overseas (76% v. 60%) and cost of college/higher education (74% v. 58%).

• Race influences perceptions of sexism. By a two-to-one margin, more Black women
than White women say discrimination against women is a very serious problem
(45% to 19%).

• Most American women (57%) want the next First Lady to take a visible leadership role
and champion issues that are important to her. Older women, aged 63 to 70, would
prefer that she stays behind the scenes.

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