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Demonstration against climate change in South Africa. © Phill Magakoe / AFP

Youth empowerment

We encourage youth participation in parliaments and empower young MPs.
children at climate change demonstration

Young people are the future of any democracy. Today's youth are tomorrow's leaders, and they can already bring new ideas to solving the world’s problems. However, with only around 2 per cent of MPs under 30, young people continue to be severely under-represented in parliament, which can compromise the legitimacy and effectiveness of the institution.

For the past decade, the IPU has been empowering young politicians to strengthen and rejuvenate democracies and make them more representative of all generations. In 2010, we set up an international framework for youth participation in democracy and the Forum of Young Parliamentarians to bring in fresher faces to the political process. The Forum makes sure the voice of young MPs from around the world is heard in global decision-making.

The IPU’s data on youth in parliament also helps to fuel reflections and promote greater youth participation in democracy.

In 2018, the IPU became the first international organization to introduce incentives to encourage more young parliamentarians to attend its meetings. For example, parliamentary delegations who bring young MPs to IPU Assemblies receive extra votes and speaking time.

MPs under 30
Global percentage of MPs under 30
MPs under 45
Global percentage of MPs under 45
Explore youth empowerment
More than half of the world population is under 30 years of age. Despite this high proportion, youth are vastly underrepresented in political institutions.
IPU’s research on youth participation in parliaments has produced a wealth of data. Image: ©IPU.
IPU’s research on youth participation in parliaments has produced a wealth of data and has generated a series of recommendations to enhance youth participation.
The participation pf youth in the prevention and resolution of disputes is essential for the building of sustainable peace.© Alexandre Meneghini / Reuters
Youth are among the first victims of radicalization and conflict. Their participation in the prevention and resolution of disputes is essential to build sustainable peace.
Latest news and stories on youth empowerment
Duarte Pacheco

IPU President: “The human rights of parliamentarians should be the core business of the IPU."

Mr Duarte Pacheco, a Portuguese Member of Parliament since 1991, was elected to the IPU Presidency in an historic virtual vote in November, winning 56 per cent of the votes in the first round. In his first video interview for
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News in brief
Girls breaking barriers

Breaking gender barriers for young women parliamentarians

Twenty-five years after the Beijing Declaration to advance women’s rights, young women are still one of the most under-represented groups in political leadership positions. IPU figures show that only 2.2 per cent of MPs worldwide are under 30, of which
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News in brief
young mps

IPU celebrates 10 years of empowering youth

On 12 August, International Youth Day 2020, the IPU celebrates the 10th anniversary of its resolution, Youth participation in the democratic process. Adopted by IPU Member Parliaments in 2010 in Thailand, the resolution is a call to action to include
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Cecilia Widegren, Swedish MP

Interview with Cecilia Widegren, MP from Sweden

Voices is part of an IPU web series in which we interview parliamentarians from around the world. The views and opinions they express are their own and do not necessarily reflect the IPU’s position. Cecilia Widegren, Swedish parliamentarian and Member
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News in brief

Empowering young MPs in Djibouti

Elections in Djibouti in 2018 brought an infusion of young MPs into the National Assembly with 32 per cent of the new house under 45, above the global average of 28 per cent. To help these young parliamentarians, as well
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Youth empowerment
Latest publications on youth empowerment
Summary of 2018 facts and figures on the participation of young people in politics. Learn about the IPU's work on youth empowerment.
This annual report provides the latest data and information on young people in parliament.
Summary of 2015 facts and figures on the participation of young people in politics.
Youth empowerment
Related events


Achieving the SDGs and empowering youth through well-being The Conference will be based primarily on the sharing of policies and creative practices that promote well-being and happiness with a focus on how such policies and practices contribute to youth empowerment
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Youth empowerment