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YWCA Survey Reveals Women Want a Modern First Lady

WASHINGTON, Dec. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Most American women (57%) want the First Lady to take a modern approach to her role by being a visible leader on issues that are important to her. Relatively few women (22%) favor a traditional First Lady who stays behind the scenes in deference to her husband, and there is even less support among women (18%) for a First Lady who is a political partner of the president and involves herself in government policy and decision-making.

These results are reported in a recent YWCA USA survey report, What Women Want: A National Survey of Priorities and Concerns, and are based on a public opinion poll of 1,000 women ages 18-70 conducted on Oct. 28 - Nov. 2 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International.

"The First Lady of the United States has the inherent potential to be one of the most influential women in the world," said Lorraine Cole, PhD, YWCA USA's CEO. "Yet each of them can shape this role to reflect her own values and personal style, as well as larger cultural trends." She citied Eleanor Roosevelt, Jacqueline Kennedy, Barbara Bush and Hillary Clinton as recent First Ladies who left their unique imprint on the role.

In the YWCA survey, women of different generations had different views of the First Lady's role. Specifically, 43% of senior women ages 63-70 say they would like to see the First Lady stay behind the scenes and support her husband. That view is shared by only 20% of younger women ages 18-29, a majority of whom (59%) say they prefer a First Lady who is a visible leader on issues that are important to her. In contrast, 26% of Gen Xers ages 30-39, many of whom came of age while Hillary Clinton was First Lady, prefer a First Lady who gets involved in shaping public policy and government decisions.

The YWCA USA is a national not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to social service, advocacy, education, leadership development, and racial justice. Its mission is the empowerment of women and the elimination of racism. Established in the United States in 1858, the YWCA is the oldest and largest national women's organization, and celebrating its 150th anniversary. Through its nearly 300 affiliated local YWCAs and its headquarters in Washington, D.C., the YWCA serves 2.5 million women and girls each year. Globally, the YWCA USA is a member of World YWCA, which has affiliates in 122 countries that serve 25 million women and girls worldwide. For more information, visit

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