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Alpha Girls: Understanding the New American Girl and How She Is Changing the World Excerpt from Alpha Girls: Understanding the New American Girl and How She Is Changing the World

by Dan Kindlon, PhD

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Chapter One

Daughters of the Revolution

American girls today are the daughters of the revolution -- the first generation that is reaping the full benefits of the women's movement. Their mothers and grandmothers fought and won the battles that produced the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving women the right to vote. They spearheaded the efforts that resulted in the 1973 Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion. They pressed for Title IX, giving girls equal access to sports participation in school. Thanks in part to the courage and perseverance of these foot soldiers, women today play a wide range of professional sports, have easy access to effective contraception, and attend Ivy League colleges and West Point (Harvard and the U.S. military academies didn't admit women until the mid 1970s).

From a psychological point of view, the move toward economic and social equality for women has made our daughters see themselves in ways that are unfamiliar to those of us who are older. Girls today are growing up in an environment where the status of women is at an all-time high. The oldest members of the cohort of alpha girls we studied were born in the late 1980s -- a tipping point of sorts -- just as women began to outnumber men in college. They have grown with women's ascendance. Consider the following:

Reprinted from: Alpha Girls: Understanding the New American Girl and How She Is Changing the World by Dan Kindlon, PhD 2006 Dan Kindlon, PhD. Permission granted by Rodale, Inc., Emmaus, PA 18098. Available wherever books are sold or directly from the publisher by calling at (800) 848-4735.