British children take inspiration from female changemakers – like Greta Thunberg and Michelle Obama – instead of more mainstream 21 NS Century models like the Kardashians and other reality TV stars, according to new research from the children’s biography series “Little People, BIG DREAMS,” released on the occasion of International Girls’ Day.
The survey of 1,000 British children aged 6-16 found that Greta Thunberg is inspiring a new generation of environmentally conscious thinkers.
In addition to Ms. Thunberg, the former First Lady Michelle Obama and key historical figures Marie Curie, Florence Nightingale and Emmeline Pankhurst are admired.
Only 9% of respondents thought the Kardashians were admiring personalities and even fewer named casts like Made in Chelsea (5%) and The Only Way is Essex (6%) as influences on their lives.
Half (50%) of all respondents agree that they feel inspired by female changemakers like Malala, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Kamala Harris and Jacinda Ardern.
TOP 5 MOST INFLUENCING FEMALE FIGURES:
Marie Curie – Scientist (23%)
Greta Thunberg – climate activist (21%)
Michelle Obama – Attorney, Writer, and Former First Lady of the United States (20%)
Florence Nightingale – Founder of Modern Nursing (19%)
Emmeline Pankhurst – political activist advocating women’s suffrage (13%)
When asked “Who, if anything, would you most like to be when you grow up?” A quarter (25%) of young people replied that they would like to become a scientist, closely followed by athletes (17%) and artists or Designer (16%).
Three quarters (75%) of respondents agree that they want a career in which they can be creative and another 73% say they want a career in which they can help people.
Katie Cotton, group publisher for Quarto Group’s trading kids lists, said: “Young people today are often accused of just wanting fame and fortune. I’m happy that this research has shown something we already know: You are more inspired by people.We work hard to make a difference in our world. Our Little People, BIG DREAMS books are about bringing these important, influential characters to life for young children, making them relevant to their own experiences, making reading fun, and most importantly, showing what they are too can achieve something in their own life. “
Low scores in the study were more of a typical hallmark of modern day success, with only 22% of children strongly agreeing that they want to get famous and 23% strongly agreeing that they want to have a lot of followers on social media.
Though 67% think they would want a career that could change the world and 56% agree they want a career that they can lead, bottoming out of the “dream jobs” has been politicians or prime ministers – just 5% said they would like to immerse themselves in the world of Westminster.
Just under a fifth (16%) said they were environmental or climate activists, suggesting that young people are now looking outside of traditional structures to make their mark on the world.
With reference to a strong generation change, only 10% of the respondents strongly agree that they are aiming for a career similar to that of their parents. Additionally, a staggering 84% agree that the world is very different from when their parents were their age, and another 72% agree that they have very different ambitions than their parents.
40% of the children surveyed agree that the most recent world events of the past 12 months – such as the progress of climate change, the conflict in Afghanistan and the Covid-19 pandemic – have had an impact on their careers and their aspirations for life.
Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara, author of Little People, BIG DREAMS said, “It is fascinating to see how attitudes change between generations and how current events affect the dreams of our young people. It shows how important it is to keep encouraging children to pursue their goals and desires, and how helpful it can be to tell the story of prominent personalities like Michelle Obama or Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “
Little People, BIG DREAMS is a bestselling book series that introduces young readers to the lives of pioneering figures. The latest publications telling the life stories of Michelle Obama, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Kamala Harris are available at www.littlepeoplebigdreams.com
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