Be Seen. Be Heard Global Youth Report
Understanding young people’s political participation
The Body Shop and the UN Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth have conducted a comprehensive analysis of the issues young people face. Read on to discover some of the report’s key findings.
There are a vast amount of young people. Young people aged 15-24 constitute nearly 16% of the world’s population, rising to 50% for people aged 30 or younger. This number is expected to grow and reach 57% by the end of 2030. 10.9 billion are expected to be born this century.
Currently only 2.8% of parliamentarians globally are under 30. This is very low. Globally, the average minimum age of candidates to be allowed to run is 22.5, almost 4 years older than voting age. The report digs into why and how these age gaps hold young people back.
Young people are often mislabelled as disinterested in civic, social and political issues. They are not. Young people are also not a homogenous group - they have diverse experiences and concerns, and engage in public affairs in many different ways. From protest to community leadership, the report finds that young people are already actively engaging in politics, just not in the formal spaces where decisions that affect society are made.
People feel that political systems are broken and trust in institutions is low. 84% of people think politicians are ‘self-interested’ and 75% of people think they’re corrupt.
There is solid argument for engaging young people, including giving voting rights to 16 and 17 year-olds. The results of the Be Seen. Be Heard Global Youth Report showed that. All age groups surveyed think that 16-18 is the ideal voting age. 8 in 10 people of all ages think the voting age should be 18 or lower.
All over the world, young people are already actively engaging in politics. For example 15-17 year-olds are 4.5 times more likely to hold a community leadership position than over 60s.
Young people protest because they are not being heard elsewhere. The Body Shop research found why 15-23 year-olds are four times more likely than over 30s to have actively taken part in protest movements.
**But the majority of people agree that the age balance in politics is wrong** and more than two-thirds (69%) of people across all age groups agree that more opportunities for younger people to have a say in policy would make political systems better.