More than 30 years after the start of the sexual revolution, female teenagers are turning away from the 1980s feminist ideal of putting fulfilment at work before the traditional demands of family life.
Research by ad agency Mellors Reay shows that the complicated lives of successful superwomen such as Nicola Horlick, Marjorie Scardino and Anita Roddick do not hold much appeal for the young. Contradicting earlier surveys, domesticity appears to be winning new converts. "Our early research indicates that girls in their A-level year are more worried about managing to find a life partner than following a career path," said Rachel Duckett, the agency's head of planning.
Focus groups looking at the hopes and fears of girls in this age range indicated that avoiding loneliness in later life is already their single greatest concern.
Attaining "independence" of some sort did feature prominently, and researchers at Mellors Reay identified this as a significant change in the aspirations of this age group during the past decade.
"When we asked them to define 'girl power', most said it was the ability to make your own decisions, be financially independent, and to be educated, by which they seem to mean becoming someone of substance."