Millennials close the gap of inequality

Erika Uecker, Staff Writer

This current generation of young people had access to the Internet during their formative years, which might explain their broadened political perspective. They saw America attacked and enter into a war that many would call irresponsible. They have seen or been a part of the gay rights movement and have stepped away from the church. Millennial women have made advancements in the workplace that have never been seen before. This generation is widely characterized as liberal. How will the millennial generation help guide the future of this country?

Newsweek called them “Generation 9/11.a�� Others refer to them as “Generation Y.a�� Millennial has a certain ring to it. Neil Howe and William Strauss, Authors of “Millennials Rising: The next Great Generationa��, have put their birth year between 1984 and 2004.

Lisa Belkin, writer for the Huffington Post, recently reported that this generation has come closer than any other to close the wage gap between men and women. She reports that women in this age group now earn 93 cents for every dollar earned by men. Clearly there has been progress’but disparity remains. Millennial women still feel that their gender is a roadblock to advancement in the workplace. Kandace Ritter, a BHSU millennial that is studying human services and sociology, is hopeful about the future of gender equality.

“It will depend on our generation, how we vote, and how we demand our rights,” Ritter said.

According to the Pew Research center, 51 percent of millennials support gay rights’compared with 32 percent of baby boomers. Josh Rundell, a BHSU millennial studying mass communication, believes that this generation will improve marriage equality.

“My hope is that twenty years from now someone’s sexual orientation won’t be a deciding factor on what they can and can not do in life,” Rundell said.

Rundell also expressed that his hope comes from the “tremendous strides” the equality movement has had in just the past ten years.

Pew Research also found that 29 percent of millennials describe themselves as non-religious’compared to 16 percent of the baby boomer generation. While the Public Religion Research Institute suggests that this disparity may be in part because of religious opposition toward marriage equality and homosexuality in general, Pew research finds that only 14 percent of millennials say that the issue of marriage equality was a “very important” factor in their decision to leave the church. Other reasons millennials are less religious are due to the fact that fewer of them grew up in a religious home. If they did grow up in a church-going family, and even less were taught that the church should be an authority over their lives.

Despite criticism of a generation that is also referred to as “generation me,a�� — yes, selfies are in part to blamea��it is important to note that Pew Research indicated that millennials found helping others in need is more important than owning a home. This may be the string that connects the political values of millennials. They have been exposed to more ideas and perspectives than any other generation with the boom in mass communication. Perhaps they have learned to be more empathetic.

This generation stands to win the fight against inequality. As they grow older, some millennials will likely keep their liberal values and continue to vote in accordance with those views. Their shedding of traditional viewpoints and embracement of new ideas is key to the evolution of equality and political change.