“I remember being in second grade and looking at a poster of all the U.S. presidents and wondering why there wasn’t a woman,” said Haley Zaker, 17, a high school senior in Lancaster. “I would joke about being the first female president. But I hope it doesn’t come to that, because I’m not eligible to run for president until 2040.”

This is the vanguard of the next wave of American leaders: young women who have already resolved, before some of them can vote, that one day people will vote for them.

They are part of the first generation in which women appear to be more likely than their male peers to be engaged in politics, according to Melissa Deckman, a political scientist at Washington College who is researching Generation Z and has worked with Ignite. And advocates are seizing on this trend, because for all the progress women made in last year’s elections, the numbers are still sobering. If women’s representation in American government kept increasing at the rate it has over the past decade, it would take more than 100 years to reach gender parity.