In the area of political participation, eligibility for national parliament starts at 25 years old or older in a third of all countries. About 1.6 percent of parliamentarians around the world are in their twenties. Young people between the ages of 15 and 25 constitute a fifth of the world’s population, according to UN Youth. Facts prove the necessity of a young generation that is more engaged, that leads toward a higher quality of democratic governance.
A simple but difficult question then follows: why should youth participate in politics and what are the benefits of their involvement?
From political to civic engagement
The involvement of youth in politics leads to civic engagement which is broader than political engagement because it can include service to the community through involvement in health, education and charity work. Political engagement is a more targeted aspect of civic engagement and can be expressed through voting, participating in political demonstrations and signing petitions for specific issues.
Young people who participate politically in their community from early on are more likely to become engaged citizens and voters. So in order to have better “young” citizenship, politics is one of the best tools.
Break the status quo
In countries of dictatorship, the younger generation’s fresh ideas and new leadership can help to overcome authoritarian practices. Protests led by youth leaders can force autocratic leaders to step down from power, allowing these youths to become part of formal decision-making.
Youth for Youth
The youth face many issues in the world, but these issues go unheard. Since the youth would better understand other young people, the best way to improve this newer generation would be through politics, which is a tool used to take action for development.
Cover photo credit: Globaleducationfirst.org