Young people worldwide are having trouble finding work: around 70 million of them are unemployed, according to Gabriela Cuevas Barron, President of the IPU. She was speaking at the Parliamentary Symposium on Jobs during the Global Parliamentary Conference 2018, which took place in Washington DC on 16-17 April 2018.
Ms. Cuevas Barron was the guest speaker at a session on Challenges of Youth Employment Today. She stressed the need for better legislation to ensure jobs for young people, one of the targets of SDG8: full and productive employment and decent work for all, including for young people, by 2030.
“We are going to need new social policies, a new social contract, a new social approach”, she said. She called for a new educational model one that guarantees free and compulsory education and that is adapted to the labour market; “a new relationship between the public and private sector;…national strategies of employment, sectorial and industrial politics; subsidies for companies that hire young people; as well as the fostering corporate initiates for self-employment and entrepreneurship.”
She pointed out that in politics, only 1.9 per cent of MPs are under 30 years old, despite the fact that this demographic group corresponds to more than half of the world’s population. This is because most countries have age restrictions for those who can run for office. However, as she remarked, “If you are old enough to get married or join the army, you are also old enough to vote and to run for office”. Having more young people in parliaments can ensure that youth have a voice on decision-making bodies, and that their interests are represented. This is an issue that the IPU, through its Forum of Young Parliamentarians, is actively engaged with.
The Conference was organized by The Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, together with the World Bank and IMF.