For International Women’s Day this year, the women at BAMM decided to undertake a very special project – we wanted to take the spotlight away from women of the present and focus our attention on the women of the future. By understanding the world through their eyes, we hoped to get a rich picture of how the world is both inhibiting and supporting them to become the next generation of female leaders and change makers.
We utilised our personal networks and reached around the world to capture the daily lives of young girls. Using a mobile approach, we recruited 18 girls between the ages of 5 – 19 years old in England, Scotland, Korea, Spain, Poland, Italy, Brazil, Denmark and the USA. We tasked them with using their mobile phones (or their parent’s mobile phones!) to take 10 photos that would help us understand who they are and what their lives look like.
Through the photos we received, we were able to see some beautiful moments and truly understand what’s important to these young women as they curated these images for us. This is what we learned:
1. Creativity and expression are a fundamental part of their lives.
Although we didn’t seek young women who are overtly creative, in the randomness of our sample, one clear trend did emerge – these girls love to express themselves in different ways whether it’s through art or music, or even make up.
2. There’s no separating girls from their teddy bears, no matter what their age or where they are!
What you love when you’re young, tends to stay with you throughout your young life, and teddy bears are no exception. We found that when we asked our girls what object they loved most in the world, it was often their teddy bear.
3. But if it’s not teddy bears that they can’t live without, then unsurprisingly it’s technology that they’re wholly dependent on.
It’s particularly interesting that our respondents put in technology in the same category as their teddy bears – leading us to conclude that there exists a sentimentality with these devices. Phones and laptops are now becoming something that’s inseparable from young women, similarly to the way young children imprint on toys (like the teddy bear!).
4. Unwinding is their favourite part of the day.
We saw that there’s nothing they look forward to more than curling up and napping, especially while watching television or consuming media like Netflix on their laptops.
We found that there existed a tension between two key things:
(1) There is a love of familiarity and comfort in the home’s living space. There is a sense of disconnection now as you unwind by curling up under a blanket on the sofa and watch TV. This ritualistic exercise is a key part of their day.
(2) There is the emerging pattern of taking that unwinding moment with them wherever they want. With the rise of these portable devices, they are longer limited to their sofas. Netflix allows them to go wherever they want to replicate that unwinding, curled up on the sofa, moment.
5. Their bedrooms are pristine sanctuaries.
When we asked our young women to share pictures of their bedrooms with us, we wanted to understand what these private spaces look like and how they use them. These are spaces that provide them the most privacy in their lives, as well as being the place that they have the most ownership over.
When analysing the photos we discovered that these spaces had more than a few things in common – they were immaculate sanctuaries, fiercely organised and were laid out to give them as much openness and space as possible.
6. Nothing brings them more joy than the furry creatures that follow them around and love them unconditionally.
The task we were most looking forward to viewing was their photos of what made them laugh. We wanted to understand what brought happiness and humour to their lives, and to them – it was their family pets.
7. And the literature they’re consuming is all about strong women.
One of the key insights that we uncovered is that the media and literature that our young women are consuming is changing rapidly from the last few years – they’re often going out of their way to read about other girls who are strong, powerful and unconventional. Much of the literature they’re reading is subtly broadening and changing the definition of femininity for them and their view of what’s possible for them.
8. Finally, the future is definitely female, and it’s empathic, hopeful and full of big dreams.
The vision of success for our young women isn’t typically what you’d expect. Gone are the dreams of fame and getting rich quick. Our young women have a clear idea of where they want to go and how hard they will need to work to get there. It’s an outlook that is both astonishingly mature and grounded in reality for girls of their age.
With strong mindsets, ambition and an appreciation and love for the things around them, we’re looking forward to seeing what awaits this next generation of young women.
The future is looking bright.