With more women running for political office than ever before in U.S. history, people are calling 2018 the Year of the Woman 2.0 (the first was in 1992). But are gender attitudes really shifting? I set out to chat with some young female citizens—New York City schoolkids—and from what they told me, little has changed.
At the Young Women's Leadership School of the Bronx, a public all-girls school in the Mount Hope neighborhood (right next to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's district), I meet Evelyn.
"I feel like in this society girls want to please everyone," said the 12-year-old middle-schooler. "But it doesn't matter to boys if someone likes them or they're nice. They just want to be the leader and do everything their own way."
To a girl, that pretty much means: Don't be bossy. "When you’re bossy everyone is talking about you," said 13-year-old Fanny. "Every time they come into a room, they say here comes Fanny. You don’t want that to happen."
"There’s not a lot of women’s opinions in the world," 13-year-old Jenaba told me, adding: "So most of the things that we have going on is based off of men."
Across town at the Trevor Day School, a coed private school on the Upper West Side, Arden imagines leadership as a kind of quiet confidence. "You don’t have to have a loud voice, because you can just be a small leader," said Arden, 8. "You can lead a little group in something." She went on to tell me that she wants to cure cancer.
A lot of girls worked hard not to mention the nation's current commander-in-chief, but eleven-year-old Ava just went for it. "There are some leaders that are bad, like Donald Trump…. I don’t like him."
To explore more about gender, power and the 2018 elections, check out The United States of Anxiety: Gender and Power podcast from WNYC Studios.