Generation Z: A Generation of Changemakers

Have you ever been told that you’re too young to start a business? Too young to have an opinion? Too young to spark change?

All over the world, we’ll see people below the age of 25, otherwise known as GenZ, making a stand. Gen Z has become one of the most informed groups because of the onset of technology. We may have heard of famous people such as Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg, Zendaya, and Yara Shahidi who have made their advocacies known to the world. These four amazing girls have fought for education for females, climate change awareness, the empowerment of minorities, and a number of other social issues. They’re only a few of the thousands of GenZ-ers who are making waves of changes in the world.

Being young is always a challenge. We can often feel like we aren’t being heard. As we usher in a new decade, it is important that we bridge the generational gaps and understand each other while still upholding our beliefs and voicing out our thoughts on major issues.

BOTTOM LINE UP FRONT!

  • Gen Z has become one of the most informed groups because of the onset of technology. 
  • As we usher in a new decade, it is important that we bridge the generational gaps and understand each other while still upholding our beliefs and voicing out our thoughts on major issues. 
  • GenZ can use the Internet for not only communication, entertainment, research, and education, but also to make ourselves heard. 
  • Online platforms have been used to spread awareness on different issues, educate others, and generally just get our thoughts and feelings out into the world.
  • Technology can and should absolutely be used to make a change in the world. No matter what your age is, start small today.

Why does GenZ feel the need to make a stand?

The future belongs to the youth. The youth will become our future leaders. However, as a GenZ-er, I look at my future and sadly see climate change, impending world war, overexploitation of the Earth, or politics eventually tipping over to the dark side. This is exactly why the members of our generation feel the need to make a stand.

Greta Thunberg was mocked for her speech for the United Nations’ climate summit. “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” was her response to the adult generation’s lack of action for climate change. However, her words spoke the truth. We make a stand because we want a future for ourselves. GenZ doesn’t want to wait any longer to make a change. GenZ uses a multitude of platforms, including technology and social media, to make this change.

GenZ and Technology

GenZ does not remember a time without the lifesaver that we call the Internet. We grew up in a period of great technological advancement, allowing us to have smartphones and computers within arms’ reach. Nowadays, we use the Internet for communication, entertainment, research, and most relevant today, education. Moreover, technology has only expanded the capabilities of the people of my generation to make ourselves heard. Online platforms have been used to spread awareness on different issues, educate others, and generally just get our thoughts and feelings out into the world.

GenZ has created a culture online. Human interaction is now mediated by the Internet. Just like with any other age cohort, there are also some things that only those in the group will easily understand. GenZ has created a vocabulary of words that would sound outrageous to any other generation but would be understood amongst themselves. Words like “yeet”, “skrrt”, “lit”, or “stan” are common amongst the youth. Even the simple capitalization of different letters when typing a word can indicate a change in emotion that can only be understood by GenZ. Another example included in this culture are what we call memes, or some form of amusing behavior or idea that can stem from anywhere and is spread by people imitating it. This culture has only helped GenZ speak out online. Many have used these memes and the power of social media to spread their thoughts and other relevant information. Through these memes, the point gets across to a different demographic of readers. Platforms like Twitter have even been regarded as GenZ’s morning newspaper, as social media is now the easiest way for GenZ to get the latest news as well as to spread information.

Nowadays, it really is quite easy to get started on sharing what you believe in online. It only takes a few clicks to share a post about a cause you are passionate about or to support a local movement. Many have even resorted to social media to start movements including organizations such as Youth for Women in Technology Inc. or WiTech. WiTech is a student-led nonprofit organization based in the Philippines that works hard to educate, inspire, and empower the youth to break gender barriers and use technology to make a difference in the STEM industry and society, in general.

Much of WiTech’s work is available online, making our content and projects accessible across the nation and the world. Since WiTech’s starting years, the team has led numerous projects including the first two Women in Tech Conferences (WiTCon) in the Philippines. WiTech also provides underprivileged students with access to technology and tech education through our Women in Tech Teach programs (Wi-Teach). Together with other major initiatives including WiTalks, Wi-Reach, and Campus RoadShow, WiTech has directly impacted over 1500 students in and out of the Philippines.  The WiTech blog has also garnered over 44,200 blog views from 100+ countries. Most importantly, WiTech has succeeded in changing gender norms. All of this has been made possible by online communication and the commitment of the team. Today, the organization continues to expand in both community and impact, with 12+ new chapters accepting members all around the country and the world. 

Technology can and should absolutely be used to make a change in the world. No matter what your age is, start small today. Find other people who are passionate about the same things and who also want to make a change. Check out organizations that are in line with your advocacies. Try to make a change in your community. 

If we, the youth of today who have the power and knowledge, don’t act upon issues that affect us and our futures, who else will?

Audrey Pe, Founder and Executive Director, WiTech

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