One-fifth of the world’s population today is made of young people between the ages of 15 and 25, and in many developing countries, the proportion is even higher. Youth have the highest stake today in ensuring their futures are sustainable. For this, their voices must be heard and taken into account at all decision-making fora.
This year’s theme for Democracy Day, Engaging Young People on Democracy, highlights the challenges and opportunities of young people engaging in democratic processes. Women have long been excluded from such processes, whether in politics, leadership or decision-making positions and young women face further discrimination on account of their age.
To engage young women around the world, UN Women is working to spur women’s leadership and political participation , including with youth leaders. We work to ensure young women and girls’ voices are at the forefront of a transformative global development agenda to achieve gender equality and development for all.
As part of this year’s UN observance of Democracy Day, UN Women will take part in an eventon 15 September on the role youth play in global change, organized by the UN at the International Peace Institute in New York.
“It’s important for youth to be involved at the high level”
Tahere Si’isi’ialafia’s, a 24-year-old Baha’i youth from Samoa and board member of the Pacific Youth Council. She speaks to UN Women about the importance of involving youth in high-level fora like the recent UN Conference on Small Island Developing States, held from 1-4 September in Samoa. Read her interview »
Training young women to be leaders
In Uruguay, where a quota law guarantees at least 30 per cent of candidates on electoral lists should be women, UN Women, UNDP and UNFPA trained a group of 25 young leaders from four political parties to prepare for the general elections in October 2014. The tutorials programme aims to extend participants’ formal and informal political networks, increase their self-confidence and debating skills, and enhance their understanding of the ground rules of politics, while deepening their interest in gender equality. Through the Fund for Gender Equality, we also support women’s groups groups who are seeking to extend the quota law, which is set to expire after the October election.
Education is a powerful tool for achieving gender equality and ending violence against women and girls. Globally, UN Women is working with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts to launch a one-of-a-kind non-formal education programme that enables young people to understand the root causes of violence in their communities, to involve their peers and communities to prevent such violence, and to learn about where to access support if they experience violence.
To prepare young women in Latin America and the Caribbean to boost their leadership skills and political engagement, 80 young women from 25 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean attended a regional forum in Panama organized by UN Women, UNDP and UNFPA. It provided a space for discussion and exchange of ideas, where participants could make their voices heard among their peers and other organizations.
Our work with women and youth around the world:
From Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe, UN Women is working in more than 70 countries around the world to strengthen women’s voices, leadership and political participation. More »
For International Youth Day, this photo essay illustrated the struggles and achievements of young women around the world and how UN Women works to support them. More »
SOURCE UN women