Hillary Clinton speaks to New Hampshire voters with female lawmakers behind her on Friday. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

MANCHESTER -- When older women hear that young women aren't supporting Hillary Clinton like they are, their reaction is the same: They just don't get it -- yet.

It is exactly this concern about a frustrating generational divide that feminist icons and Clinton supporters Gloria Steinem and former secretary of state Madeleine Albright expressed in recent days to withering criticism. Albright, in addition to reprising her now infamous line condemning women who don't support each other to "a special place in hell," also made the point that young women seem to think that the struggle for equality is over.

Steinem, in even less artful commentary, suggested that perhaps they supported Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders because when women are young, they ask themselves "Where are the boys? And the boys are with Bernie."

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem is taking heat for telling Bill Maher that young women who support Bernie Sanders are doing so because "the boys are with Bernie." Here's her entire answer to Maher's question. (HBO)

The implication is that young women haven't yet realized the importance of feminism and solidarity with other women. Among Clinton's female supporters of a certain age, there is little dispute about the truth of those sentiments.

“It's different for those of us who came through the second wave of feminism,” said Sandi Albom, 59, who supports Clinton. “There’s not the solidarity with women that there was then. And I think there’s a lot of sentiment that women have kind of come through and come through the other end, and I don't agree."

The generational divide in Iowa -- especially among young women -- came as a shock to Clinton. That's in part because after downplaying the significance of her gender in 2008, her campaign in 2016, viewing it as a political advantage, is imbued with the history-making potential that her candidacy represents: that she could finally break that last, highest, thickest glass ceiling.

This is a campaign whose slogan is "I'm with her!" and where crowds of supporters echo Clinton's words that if she's playing the gender card, "deal me in."

But that doesn't seem to matter to younger women, and older women say they know why. Young women are reaping the benefits of past battles that older feminists won, and now younger women are ready to declare the war over.

"I think if they realized what people like Hillary Clinton and women like her did back in the '60s so they can have a future that doesn't have the limitations that women had back then, they would be more supportive of her," said Gail Ellis, 68. "Because if it wasn’t for people like Hillary and Gloria Steinem --women in the feminist movement -- they wouldn’t have the kind of life they have now."

At least some of the problem could be explained by the disconnect between what younger and older women believe are their greatest insecurities.

Earlier this year, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz explained the lukewarm support for Clinton among young women this way: "Here’s what I see: a complacency among the generation of young women whose entire lives have been lived after Roe v. Wade was decided," she told the New York Times Magazine.

There is some truth to that, according to some of Clinton's New Hampshire supporters. While older women still feel the threat of abortion rights always on the verge of slipping away, younger women are concerned about a broader slate of problems that seem to stand in the way of the lives they hope to live.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton reacts as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says, "there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other," at a campaign event at Rundlett Middle School, in Concord, N.H., Saturday Feb. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) Clinton reacts as Madeleine Albright says, "There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other," at a campaign event  in Concord, N.H., on Saturday. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

"All of my friends of supporters of Hillary," said Albom. "We’re concerned about abortion rights; we’re concerned about having control over our bodies; we’re concerned about overturning Roe v. Wade, much as I’m concerned about Citizen’s United.”

Added Edwinna Vanderzanden, 69: “It’s disappointing that younger women are not as supportive of her, but I think it’s also a sign of the fact that they just don’t feel nearly as threatened as we were as young women. They’re just expressing the fact of their generation."

Burdened by student loan debt, unable to afford to buy a home and worried about the feasibility of quality affordable child care, the concerns of younger women have shifted from reproductive health to economic anxiety.

According to 19-year-old Clinton volunteer Emily Rice, her peers who support Sanders "view women's issues as economic."

"They're not as motivated by Planned Parenthood," she added.

Clinton supporter Joanne Clark, 72, has a two daughters, the older who supports Clinton and the younger, who supports Sanders. At 40, her younger daughter is slightly older than Sanders’s core constituency of 20- and 30-something voters, but she has similar “socioeconomic” reasons to support Sanders, Clark said.

“I think that the youngest one is a lot more needy than the older one, who has a wonderful job and gets paid well. Bernie’s promising a lot of stuff,” said Clark, arching an eyebrow.

In recent days, Clinton has stepped up her appeal to women overall in New Hampshire, where a recent poll showed her trailing Sanders among women by eight points. Among the last-minute holdouts are registered "undeclared" voters like Julia Parkhurst, 69, who only came around to Clinton in the last week.

In particular, Parkhurst is unmoved by arguments for Clinton's candidacy that have anything to do with her gender.

"It shouldn’t be about what kind of garments we wear and whether we wear a bra or not," Parkhurst said. "It should be who is the best person to do it."

Anne Gearan contributed to this report from Rochester, N.H.