UN World Youth Report

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Are there any social/political/cultural factors which you perceive to be obstacles/challenges to your candidacy for employment? Can you provide any examples of overcoming such challenges?

Many of the participants voiced their perceptions of age discriminatory practices across the labour market. Several commented on different forms of discrimination, including: age, gender, geography, nationality and ethnic background. Crispin, with Aube Nouvelle pour la Femme et le developpment (ANFD), informed us of such issues in the Democratic Republic of Congo, “where [an estimated] 90 per cent of youth are unemployed.

Those who are employed are found in urban centres. While all young people living in rural areas are losing out… [inequalities exist:]

a) Girls and boys have the same opportunity to study, [but] if their parents have little money, […] they only send boys to study, and leave the girls.

b) The indigenous peasants form a group excluded from development activities. Finally, young people incur serious barriers to participation in work.”

In addition, several participants believed that access to government jobs is largely based on nepotism and contacts, i.e. jobs are often given to people who know someone already working in a given department. Some participants also observed that these jobs are further often assigned to people from the governing political party.

Some country examples:

The private sector in France was cited as permissive of discriminatory recruitment practices by requesting candidates to include a photo of themselves in their CVs.

Yanira, 29, from Mexico told us, “I started at the lowest position in a government department, but I gained respect as they saw my ability, honesty and commitment to work together… the most important thing is to not give up and learn new things every day.”

In Peru, Maclovio, 27 with the “Organización, Asociación Educativa Ñam Sumi Perú” posted:

“I was at a workshop and at that time I was doing work with indigenous university students, one day I was extremely disappointed to hear and see that in my country there are still vestiges of hatred, and discrimination… the opinions expressed by so many young professionals against Indians was shocking: telling them ‘to return to their village, because they are ignorant’. This social selfishness…prevails in our environment…and is why there is a divide between public and private universities. Universities should espouse social development, inclusion and equality, if we want to see it in our society.”

Final insights…

Urban – rural and educational divides…

According to the United Nations Human Settlements Programme’s (UN-HABITAT) 2009 Urban Youth Survey (cited in United Nations, Human Settlements Programme, 2010), cities offer young people with higher levels of education greater opportunities to integrate into urban life than they do for the less educated. These findings point to education, especially for females, as a key driver in accessing the opportunities that come with urban life and taking advantage of them. Do you agree with this?

Participants from India, Kenya and Botswana all agreed. Kirthi, 24, from India told us: “I think this statement is considerably true in India. Young people who have higher education on their side have a greater shot at landing jobs that let them be a part of urban life.”

Participants further commented that employment-related resources and services for young people are often not available in rural areas. Where they are offered, a lack of awareness or information may prevent rural youth from benefitting from them.

Disability and the role of information and communication technologies (ICTs)…

Awa, 30, with Impact Creators in Cameroon, commented:

“Youth civil society leaders, the physically challenged [and others] all have to participate and develop gender‐friendly legal frameworks, and then propose them to their home Governments and multilateral and bilateral organizations. The creation of multimedia [information and communication technology] ICT centres in rural areas will tremendously increase access to information for both male and female as well as physically challenged youths. We cannot undervalue the prowess of social networking sites nowadays as a tool for mobilization, citizenship and activism (political, social, etc.).”

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The UN Focal Point on Youth aims to build awareness of the global situation of young people, as well as promote their rights and aspirations, working toward greater participation of young people in decision-making as a means for achieving peace and development.

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You are here: The 2011 Report Chapter Two: Preparing for Work Are there any social/political/cultural factors which you perceive to be obstacles/challenges to your candidacy for employment? Can you provide any examples of overcoming such challenges?