How generational culture is changing the way we view our relationships and workplaces.

26.03.18

Times certainly are changing. From the uprising of women and men in support of the #MeToo movement to the outcry of students on a mission to end gun violence, it’s safe to say there is a generational shift happening and it’s causing the equality pendulum to swing.  Twenty-odd years ago, not many would dream of speaking out against sex and power dynamics we see daily – and if they did, not much would have changed. Fast forward to 2018 and it’s hard to keep up with the rate and pace of this revolution.

Currently, our society is made up of five generations:

  • Generation Z: Born 1996 onwards
  • Millennials or Gen Y: Born 1977 to 1995
  • Generation X: Born 1965 to 1976
  • Baby Boomers: Born 1946 to 1964
  • Traditionalists: Born 1945 and before

Generational shifts

Millennials have grown up in a different world to the generations that preceded them. Laws around sexual harassment are widespread, the gender pay gap is being challenged furiously and social media has given us an accessible platform from which to speak out. To have been brought up in the midst of this revolution of change, means millennials are more inclined to take it for granted that men and women can work side by side in the workplace and that women will be treated with the same amount of respect, and opportunity, as men. This stands in contrast to Generation X, who previously would have swept sexual harassment allegations under the rug. While many a millennial would be stunned by the flood of headlines today pertaining to harassment in the workplace, this wasn’t always the case for previous generations, further emphasising the shift in what was perceived – and tolerated – as acceptable treatment of gender.

Generations in life

When it comes to relationships, recent studies show that typically, millennials have fewer sexual partners than baby boomers and those in Generation X. Perhaps it is because unlike the generations that preceded them, the opportunity to make informed decisions about their sexual health and well-being is becoming the norm, as opposed to the exception. How young men feel towards gender, work and family norms are becoming increasingly aligned with the way women feel. Millennial men are more inclined to get involved in the home than their male antecedents. When it comes to female entrepreneurship, a recent survey shows 83% of millennial women are focused on owning their own business as well as having their own family. Another survey by GLAAD reports that 20% of millennials identify as LGBTQ and to be allies of the community (up from 12% of the X Generation and 7% of Baby Boomers). It’s safe to say that the diverse perspectives, motivations and needs of these generations are changing the way we view work and relationships – both personally and professionally.

The era of change

The economic, social and technological revolutions that are prompting greater change and equality, require more flexible workplace environments that focus on adapting to the ever-changing needs and goals across generations. We look at these statistics as a snapshot of the positive steps society has taken toward a more equality-driven world, but there is much to be done to bridge the generational gaps that live on inside our organisations, communities, families and the like.  Despite still having some way to go when it comes to putting these beliefs into action, it is evident that things have really shifted and will continue to do so in ways that challenge our perception of our relationships today. Never has society had so much freedom to explore their sexual, professional and personal needs and identities in ways that support their development and we are proud to be active in this ongoing dialogue.