There's an interesting piece in today's Washington Post about the difference in support Hillary Clinton gets between younger women and older women who vote Democratic.
One, this isn't broken down by race, and it may well be that, like many discussions of millennial voters, there are significant differences between white voters and voters of color. I also refer you back to Janell Ross' article about how Clinton's support among women of color is stronger than than among white women. Black women, in particular, have been driving her commanding lead.
Two, I just want to reiterate my stance that I don't believe there's such a thing as a universally best candidate for women, because women are not a monolith. There are feminist women who support Sanders, or Jill Stein, or no one currently running, for valid reasons.
So, back to the article. Its essential point is that women "who said they had been discriminated against because of gender were more likely to choose Clinton over Sanders, even after accounting for ideology, age, and income."
Women who agreed that gender discrimination had affected their education or career prospects were nearly 20 points more likely to vote for Clinton than those who disagreed with that statement.The key here is that it's not just that the world has changed for (more) younger women, nor just that (many) women's experiences change as we move through our lives and careers, but also that individual women change during our lives.
Older women are more likely to report that their education or career had been affected by gender discrimination and caring for children. So it's no surprise they are voting for Clinton in higher numbers.
...Fewer younger women have seen their prospects limited by discrimination and child-care responsibilities. Here's what they have faced personally: being part of the generation hardest hit by the Great Recession, and seeing student debt and poor job prospects as major career obstacles.
Women both outnumber and outperform men in college. Their path to early career success has been smoothed over by the feminists who came before them. They haven't yet hit the point in their careers where they can see an egregious gender gap in pay or when older men stop mentoring them and start treating them as competitors.
Meanwhile, the older women who paved their way were more likely to face overt discrimination in college and in the workplace and to have seen their careers knocked off the fast track when they became parents. Older women have also had more time to serve in leadership positions and wield authority – and to face overt discrimination and harassment as a result.
There are a whole lot of things that I would now immediately recognize as sexism, through the wisdom of experience, that I would not have immediately identified thus in my 20s.
Because I, like most women, are socialized to mischaracterize discrimination against us (and other women) as an individual failing. And there was a time when I did imagine, naively, that I could bootstrap and Exceptional Woman myself out of being held back by sexism.
So it matters, too, when (or if) individual women have that awakening moment at which they start to call discrimination what it is.
And it's no surprise that, the more privileged a woman is, the more able she may be to delay that moment, because she isn't obliged to navigate multiple axes of oppression.
[H/T to Aphra_Behn.]