Call it a mother-daughter argument that's gone global. Will young girls abandon women's issues?

Recent events on the U.S. presidential campaign trail highlighted a growing divide between boomer women and their millennial counterparts on the question of feminism.

It's not just an American thing; what happened there set off a global viral debate. The older women believe the most important thing is to vote for a woman president, that electing Hillary Clinton would be a hugely symbolic milestone culminating decades of hard work. But female Democrats in the 18- to 34-age group flocked to the Bernie Sanders camp in droves. This difference became a full-on feud after feminist icon Gloria Steinem and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright both made some disparaging remarks about the younger women.

"Remember, there's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other," Albright rebuked the young women in the crowd as she introduced Clinton in February. A few days later, Steinem doubled down on the insult in a television interview with Bill Maher. "When you're young, you're thinking: 'Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie,' " Ms. Steinem said by way of explaining the phenomenon.

Albright's outburst was aimed at "a lot of you younger women" who think the work of feminism is done. "It isn't done," she shouted. Albright's comments were wrong-headed, but she is correct in thinking that many young women believe equality has been accomplished. Or else they are simply put off by the image the word feminism conjures.

In a poll last year, Chatelaine found that 68 per cent of Canadian women do not call themselves feminists; and a global poll conducted by Ipsos in 2014 indicated that only 17 per cent of Canadian women identified as feminist. "The issue of women not calling themselves feminists, who cares?" says Sally Armstrong, noted journalist, author and women's advocate. "It's a word. We all know it means equality-seeking. There is a skew that doesn't want to use the word, but do you really think 25-year-old women are going to go backwards?"

Next: "I just avoid using the word"

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