"Girls Run the World"

Currently there are over 80 million members of the Generation Y population in the United States; this segment includes people born between 1978-1994. The Business and Professional Women’s (BPW) Foundation recently released a report that profiles Generation Y women in the workplace as these young women who give new meaning to working hard for the money.

Dr. Sheila Barry-Oliver, BPW Foundation Board of Trustees said, “Women represent 46% of the Generation Y workforce, which by 2025 will represent 42% of the US workforce. Given the size of this segment of the future workforce, it is critical that employers understand the career choices and challenges of Generation Y women, which are different from prior generations.”

I was thinking about this recently when I read two stories about two different Gen Y women and wondered how they were both coping in a world that is comparably different than the one I remember. A young Atlanta woman whose mother struggled with addiction and homelessness when she was a child—became a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Brittany O’Connell has seen her share of life’s scattered dreams as a young woman living in poverty. But she worked her way from poverty to promise and by all accounts is well on her way to a life that will be considerably more heralded than her adolescent years.


As a former communications director for an urban city mayor, I took a special interest in a Chicago story that was circulating on a variety of public relations and journalism sites. A seasoned Chicago investigative television reporter wrote about a young staffer in newly elected Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office. Chicago native and 25-year old press secretary, Tarrah Cooper was admonished in a column by 55-year old reporter Chuck Goudie for being too “green” and he wasn’t talking eco-friendly. He made several references to her age and youthfulness as if it was a curse. Sure she is learning on the job like so many of us did when we were 25-years old, maybe the reporter was 25 once, yet he seems to have forgotten.


Two women who are destined to be leaders in whatever career choice they make as they come of age in a world with more choices and challenges than I can imagine. These two young women have both had some tough lessons but the good news seems to be as Gen Y women, they are more than ready for the complicated future that awaits them.

As Beyonce says, “Girls Run the World.”

Beverly Isom Blogging While Blue