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The New Leadership Landscape: What Girls Say About Election 2008 Girl Scout Research Institute January 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "The New Leadership Landscape: What Girls Say About Election 2008 Girl Scout Research Institute January 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 The New Leadership Landscape: What Girls Say About Election 2008 Girl Scout Research Institute January 2009

2 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 2 Introduction and Methodology Goal: Examine the impact of the election on girls’ leadership aspirations and interest in civic participation. Online interviews conducted with a sample of 3,284 respondents between the ages of 13 and 17 –2,309 girls and 975 boys –Oversampling of African American, Hispanic, and Asian youth –Data weighted to produce a final sample representative of the general population of young people in the United States Interviews conducted November 11-December 2, 2008 Conducted with Fluent, a NYC-based public opinion and market research firm

3 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 33 Table of Contents I.Engagement in the 2008 presidential campaign II.Young people’s choice of president III.Expectations for the Obama administration IV.Perceptions of fairness in the political process V.Gender and race as factors in the election VI.Impact of the election on perceptions of gender equality VII.Impact of the election on leadership aspirations of youth VIII.Conclusions

4 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 44 High engagement in campaign A majority of both girls and boys report that the election outcome really mattered to them.

5 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 55 High engagement is manifest in behaviors


7 777 The historic nature of the campaign was one source of enthusiasm

8 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 88 The historic nature of the campaign was one source of enthusiasm

9 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 99 Excitement is particularly strong among African American youth Girls Boys

10 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 10 In their own words… “It showed that women can do anything they set their mind to.” –13-year-old girl “It gives me hope that people care more about issues like the economy and the environment than they do about race.” –16-year-old girl “It showed if a black man can be president, then a Hispanic person can do it, too, and even a woman. Both of which I am.” –14-year-old girl “Obama has inspired me to be my best as an African American. He makes me feel there's nothing I can't do if I put my mind to it. Black people have a real role model in Barack Obama. He's not just an athlete or musician or actor. He's our president.” –16-year-old girl

11 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 11 Excitement over youth power “I was most inspired by the energy of young people who truly began to take a stand and fight for what they believed was right and best for their country. Young people, after all, are the next generation of U.S. leaders, and will have to deal with the choices of the president for much longer than your average 65-year-old voter.” –16-year-old girl

12 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 12 Widespread support for Obama Barack Obama would have won the 13-17-year-old vote with a wider margin than he did the national election: –60% of survey respondents said they would have voted for the Democratic Party nominee and just 26% said they would have voted for John McCain (compared to the 53/46% split in the national election). His victory would have been based on majorities in both girls’ (61%) and boys’ (57%) votes. Obama would have won majority-support of every major ethnic group. The results of a hypothetical youth vote are more or less in line with the actual election results.

13 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 13 Obama would have won every ethnic group Gender Ethnicity Ethnicity and Gender

14 14 Voting patterns in line with election results Parents’ Party Affiliation Parents’ Ideology Annual Household Income Type of Community

15 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 15 High expectations for the Obama administration Do you expect the newly elected president to bring change to the country? Boys “Even though I wanted McCain to be president, I believe that Obama can make very positive change in our country because of his evenly mixed, ‘not too serious’ personality, and that's inspiring.” –15-year-old girl Girls

16 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 16 Aggressive agenda for president-elect, with economy topping the list How important is it to you that the newly elected president addresses the following issues? % who said “very important”GirlsBoys The economy85%82% War in Iraq75%70% Education75%63% Job creation71%68% Health care70%62% Uniting the country65%59% College tuition65%58% Taxes63%60% Environment62%53% Racial equality57%49% Immigration47%45% Gender equality52%34% Social issues (e.g., abortion, gay rights)45%34% Engaging youth in community service43%35%

17 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 17 Fairness of the political process is in the eye of the beholder Do you think the female candidates were treated as fairly as the male candidates in this campaign cycle? Yes, as fairly No, not as fairly Not sure Girls44%39%17% Boys42%36%21% Caucasian girls37%45%17% Caucasian boys39%38%23% African American girls65%19%16% African American boys60%20% Hispanic girls48%37%15% Hispanic boys36%45%20% Asian girls41%33%26% Asian boys50%32%18% Republican households28%57%15% Democratic households55%28%17% Independent households42%40%18% Would have voted for Obama56%27%17% Would have voted for McCain23%63%14%

18 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 18 Perceptions of gender and race bias in candidates’ treatment Gender was not perceived to be uniform in its implications for the candidates. More respondents saw gender as a barrier for Sarah Palin than did for Hillary Clinton. –38% of girls said that gender didn’t matter in how Hillary Clinton was treated, whereas 31% said gender did not matter for Sarah Palin. –24% said that gender hurt Clinton, but 34% said it hurt Palin. Similarly, the impact of race was not clear-cut for young people: While one in three believe that Barack Obama was held to a higher standard because of his race, 48% believe that race ultimately helped him in the elections. “Men don't like powerful women. I think they are threatening to men. Poor Sarah Palin—just because she’s attractive, people tried to make her out to be dumb and vain. Poor Hillary Clinton—just because she is smart and ambitious, people made her out to be hard and mean.” –17-year-old girl

19 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 19 Merit trumps race and gender in choice of candidates among youth

20 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 20 Gender is not the deciding factor for the majority of girls “It really inspired me not to look at race or gender but to really look deeply at their thoughts and stances, their points of view on problems we have, and how they are going to help us.” --13-year-old girl

21 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 21 Electing a female president is desirable but not essential

22 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 22 Yet expectations are high for advancement of women and ethnic minorities GirlsBoys

23 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 23 “Do not take any crap… It’s no longer a man’s world.” --13-year-old girl “Go for it! You have just as much of the ability to run the country that a man does. I would like to see you become the next president. Women can do anything they set their minds to.” --15-year-old girl 23 Some advice to women candidates “Be yourself, be sincere, don’t be married to Bill Clinton.” --15-year-old girl “You have to know 10 times more than a man knows just to keep up with him.” --16-year-old girl “Don’t think you have to speak out just on ‘women’s issues’; think of yourself as a candidate, not just a ‘woman candidate.’” --18-year-old girl “Buy your own clothes always.” --15-year-old girl “Make sure there are no skeletons in your closet. Be good looking, tell it like it is, and have billions of dollars to spend on a campaign.” --13-year-old girl “Stay positive. You go, girl! --14-year-old girl

24 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 24 Enhanced appreciation of women’s ability to lead…

25 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 25 …women’s skills and roles It is unladylike to be a leaderOn the whole, men make better political leaders than women Managing moneyCollaborating with others Handling a crisis

26 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 26 …and difficulties they face Girls have to work harder than boys in order to gain positions of leadership. In our society, it is more difficult to become a leader for a woman than a man. Today, both men and women have an equal chance of getting a leadership position.

27 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 27 The election has boosted youth confidence and interest in public participation What kind of impact did the 2008 election have on your?... % who said positive impactGirlsBoys Intention to vote when you reach eligible age72%68% Confidence in being able to achieve your goals in the future59%52% Comfort level in speaking up and expressing your opinions on issues that matter to you 55%47% Confidence in your ability to change things in the country51%45% Interest in politics50%44% Interest in social and political activism46%38% Interest in community service or volunteer activity44%31% Desire to be a leader41%34% Desire to be a leader at school or in an after-school program38%29% Desire to be a leader in your community37%30% Desire to be a political leader23%20%

28 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 28 In their own words… “This election has inspired me to speak my own voice.” –13-year-old girl “Inspired me to be more active in my community and that with hard work and determination all things are possible.” –17-year-old girl “It inspires me to be more outspoken on my views of politics and the issues.” –14-year-old girl “Has inspired me to be more involved in politics and to be educated on issues that matter to me.” –15-year-old girl “To become politically active when I am old enough.” –13-year-old girl “Can’t wait till I am old enough to vote.” –13-year-old girl

29 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 29 No immediate impact on desire of youth to be leaders No significant increase in those who think of themselves as leaders or want to be leaders as compared to the GSRI 2008 “Change It Up!” study. The majority of girls and boys say the election has had no impact on their desire to be leaders. –Notable exception: African American youth and Leadership Vanguard % who said no impactGirlsBoys Desire to be a political leader59%63% Desire to be a leader in your community50%57% Desire to be a leader at school or in an after-school program 50%59% Desire to be a leader47%54%

30 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 30 Optimism about one’s chances of becoming president of the United States

31 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 31 In their own words… “Obama inspired me to seek leadership in my school.” –16-year-old girl “I can be anything I would like to be. The color of your skin or the fact that you are male or female does not limit your goals.” –13-year-old girl “If someday I want to be president, there is no stopping me.” –14-year-old girl “He says ‘yes we can’ and now I feel that I can, too. If I put my mind to something, then I can do it.” –14-year-old girl “To the moon and beyond the stars. I can achieve my goals if I work hard.” –13-year-old girl

32 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 32 Conclusions High engagement in the 2008 presidential election. The historic nature of the 2008 election cycle has clearly contributed to the enthusiasm of young people. Girls and boys have recognized that the voices of young people like them made a real difference in this election. The most immediate impact of the election is a heightened interest in the political process and social activism. Even a more encouraging development is the perceived impact of the election on young people’s confidence and self- assurance, especially among girls.

33 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 33 Conclusions The election has had less of an immediate impact on girls’ and boys’ desire to be leaders, whether at school, in their communities, or of the country. By boosting girls’ self-confidence and their interest in political and social activism—factors predictive of leadership aspirations—the 2008 presidential election may eventually have a stronger impact than is immediately apparent. While the election has illustrated the capabilities and leadership qualities of women, it has also underscored the barriers women face in seizing those opportunities. Far from being deterred from seeking out leadership opportunities, girls are confident in their chances of assuming leadership roles.

34 GIRL SCOUT RESEARCH INSTITUTE 34 “I can be anything I want to be.” --16-year-old girl

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