How does it feel to be a woman in her early 20's in the 21st century?
What does it do to you to be on Instagram every day and be bombarded with images? How can a woman have a model figure like Bella Hadid, curves like Kylie Jenner and an angelic face like Candice Swanepoel?
Under all this existing pressure of comparison, Generation Z does not break down. The only thing we are terrified of is not having internet/connectivity.
To the outside world, many things about this generation seems superficial, apolitical and competition-driven. But we don't want to look at them from the outside, that's why I report, genuinely being from the Gen Z, about our inner lives in the 21st century.
Depression, eating disorders and panic attacks. Mental issues that previous generations did not like to talk about. Nowadays it is considered en vogue to have a therapist who has accompanied you through the separation or divorce of your parents, or helps you with other difficult life situations and decisions. We talk openly about the pressure we are constantly under.
No future without top grades
Be attractive, but versatile and committed to a career. Study abroad, but do internships that are obligatory and minimal paid. Without a master's, you have no job. But then there are those who decide against a bachelor's degree and often end up in the start-up scene and save themselves the cost of studying. This is exactly where I find myself. I am one of the approx. 16 % of female founders in Germany who, at the age of 20, is running her own NGO.
Because instead of going into competition, robbing each other of ideas, we do something amazing: we support each other.
We advertise for each other in the social media, encourage each other and help when things aren't going well. Would we be at this point if we hadn't grown up in Rainbow or patchwork families in our early years or with a single mother? Has the break in our personal biography made us mature earlier? Clearly yes, but that is exactly what makes up Gen Z.
Building a bridge between the generations
We are often described as lazy and arrogant, but we want to learn. And not only from each other, but from an older generation (yes, you boomers out there, we mean you). With my platform FeMentor we start right there. I am often contacted by young women - they are usually between 18 and early 30s - who would like to have a reverse mentor. Reverse what?
Reverse mentoring is the simple solution to many problems, if you have the right contact person. You just have to build a bridge between the so-called Snowflakes (i.e. us) and boomers (i.e. the parent generation) so that both can learn not only from each other but also about one another.
But Gen Z still faces a problem: Women always have the lowest positions, be it at work or in the society. Too few women in management positions, supervisory boards, politics and other relevant institutions! There are 3.82 billion women in this world (of which, by the way, about 200 million are circumcised), while the majority of all people suffering from hunger are women (60%). In many countries we are not even allowed to decide about our own bodies when it comes to pregnancy or choice of clothing, and are often not included in important decisions.
In addition, women will earn 20% less than men in 2020, but have to pay 28% more for drugstore products just to make the razor pink. Condoms are often available free of charge, tampons and supplies around the period are not. Sex is voluntary, menstruation is not.
I want to empower women, especially those of my generation. I think we can achieve much more together through inter-generational exchange. Who, if not us younger women with our great energy, who, if not the older women with their experience and prudence? That's what drives me on, every day.
Thank you, Anastasia, for your very personal view. Click here to go to FeMentor.