A new study shows that the 2008 presidential election resulted in an increased interest in political and civic participation among American youth. The study, conducted by the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI), collected 3,284 online interviews from young people aged 13 to 17.
According to the study, girls’ confidence levels spiked as a result of the election; fifty percent believe they have more confidence and that they can reach their goals. Fifty-five percent feel more confident voicing their opinions. Susan McClure, CEO of the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore, told Asbury Park Press that “For the first time, we saw two women play a pivotal role in a presidential election. This has inspired an entire generation of girls and will continue to do so for years to come.”
The study also reported an increase in girls’ awareness of double standards due to gender and sex. Forty-three percent think “girls have to work harder than boys in order to gain positions of leadership,” up from twenty-five percent in 2007. Judy Schoenberg, Director of Research for Outreach for GSRI, said on the Institute’s website that “It’s clear that this election season has encouraged girls to re-examine their ideas about leadership, civic participation and their own ability to influence the world around them as future leaders. While girls are aware that women face challenges, they have also gained confidence and were energized by the 2008 election.”