12 People Talk About the Small Ways Society Has Made Progress in the Last 20 Years

Life really flies by and, if you’re not paying attention, you can notice a lot of the little things that happen.

And, believe it or not, society is making progress in a lot of areas.

Folks on AskReddit talked about the small ways they think society has progressed in the past two decades.

Let’s see what they had to say.

1. All good stuff.

“Streets are cleaner, more healthy food is filling the shelves, people in general are more conscious of where the product they just bought came from and under what conditions it was made.”

2. No more of that.

“S**king indoors is now an abomination.

When I was a barman in 2004 the refrain I kept hearing from my regulars was “It’ll never happen! They can’t ban s**king in pubs, they’ll be empty!”

One of my very earliest memories as a 3 year-old is of my dad was of him s**king a cigarette in the living-room. A few years later, he would fill the car with his smoke on long drives.

I’m so glad so many millions fewer kids have to go through that; I h**e to think of the damage I picked up over all that time.”

3. Everybody get on board.

“I have noticed everyone in my store brings their own reusable bags now.

It’s so nice to reduce your impact in little ways and see everyone else doing it, too.”

4. A big step.

“Our understanding of mental health [both in the sense of psychiatry and of psychology] improved significantly.

Many people who would have been institutionalized for life in, say, 1960, or “just” spend their entire life in utter misery, now get to live a fullfilling, decent quality life.”

5. Safety first.

“Some have observed that fewer and fewer people are driving dr**k, thanks to a mix of ridesharing apps and more of the younger generation thinking that it’s irresponsible/inexcusable to drink and drive.”

6. Getting better.

“Depending on where you are but racial tolerance has been getting better.

I mean it’s in no way perfect and there are still many ways it can be improved but it has been getting better. I’m a visible minority and I’ve noticed things happening lately that seemed unlikely many years ago.

Like interracial dating doesn’t seem that big of a deal anymore. You even see a lot of commercials that feature interracial couples. Years ago when I’d meet someone outside my race there was always waiting for that “we’re getting along great, but I just can’t see myself dating someone of your race.”

Now it almost feels like it’s a non-issue”

7. Much more tolerant.

“It seems to me that young people and kids today are far more accepting of differences, whether it’s a disability, s**ual orientation, being interested in a “weird” or non-gender-conforming hobby etc., than previous generations were.”

8. Do what you want!

“The type of clothing / colors of clothes men can wear these days.

When I was in school (1997 graduate) if a guy wore pink he would get made fun of if not beaten up. Hell, if someone dressed up they same would happen.

Growing your hair long was rebellious.”

9. More empathetic.

“When I was in school my parents fought the school board tooth and nail to get assistance for my dyslexic brother rather than him to be transferred to a special ed program because the district “couldn’t afford to hire people just to help him”.

Three of my closest friends work in public schools with special needs children and one designs integrated curriculums for her district.

I know we have a long way to go but integrating and equipping educators to teach children with learning disabilities is an amazing way to raise awareness and change society to view individuals with disabilities with empathy and not condescension.”

10. Awareness.

“There is more awareness about men’s mental health.

My dad has struggled his whole life bottling up his emotions and he’s now in his 60s and is finally feels comfortable tackling issues he’s had his whole life.

I think he was always afraid he’d be viewed as “less of a man” if he talked about it before.”

11. Times are changing.

“As a woman, when meeting someone new, I am often asked where I work before I am asked if I am married/have kids.

I feel like a decade ago we still found it “weird” when women worked. Even if some people are still more traditional, is seems to be assumed that every adult has a job.”

12. A big improvement.

“Something I’ve observed in my lifetime: tolerance of people’s interests and hobbies has gone up exponentially.

In years past, it was severely looked down upon if your interest/hobby/passion wasn’t a mainstream “approved” activity. You had to be into sports, band, academics, or certain other known quantities, or it was just looked down upon… mocked, belittled, or trivialized.

These days, people can specialize into nearly anything and find an audience for it. And people accept that. If your passion is solving a rubix cube, speedrunning video games, or something even more obscure like stacking cups as fast as possible… there’s an audience, a YouTube channel, someone streaming it on Twitch, and people respect that.

It is so refreshing, I don’t think many people appreciate how good they have it compared to even 20 years ago.”

Now we want to hear from you.

In what ways do you think society has made progress in the last twenty years?

Talk to us in the comments and let us know what you think!