Empowering Young People in Political Participation

In a third of all countries, eligibility for national parliament starts at 25 years or older. And around 1.65 % of parliamentarians are in their twenties, the average age is 53 years. Nowadays around 17 % of the human population is between fifteen to twenty-four years old and it is rising. Africa has the largest youth population. There around 20 % are younger than 25 years old.  

The political participation often depends largely on political, socio-economic and cultural contexts. One important factor for younger people to get in contact with politics is technologies, like the Internet, especially social media, which give the young new opportunities to participate in political actions, but also to inform themselves about political issues and conflicts. There is also a notable gap between young and old for example in their interests and also in their preferred political party.  

Nowadays young people have the chance to gain more information but also to get in contact with fake news or bad influence, which has an effect on the formation of opinions. Additionally, places with bad infrastructure or with conflicts oppress the young. A large youth population is a sign of optimism and hope for a country, especially for highly developed countries. So if young people engage in politics, they bring more value to civil issues, which is an improvement of democracy. 
The problem is that young people are feeling increasingly marginalized, cynical and unsatisfied with political establishments, which sadly often reduces their engagement and activism. 
In Europe young people, mostly at universities, protest against youth unemployment, the costs of university education and right-wing populist movements, but they engage less in elections than previous generations did. 
Although the current generation is more educated than previous ones, this generation has to deal with a higher unemployment rate than before. Furthermore, young educated people are more likely to have more than one job to fulfill their basic needs. Nevertheless, many have to deal with poorer health and have to live in poverty, and this leads to an increased wage inequality. 
Social unrest is the result of youth unemployment, perceptions of rising inequalities, increased poverty levels and the lack of confidence in governments and political institutions. 
These factors have historically been a key influence in peaceful and violent political regime changes across the world. 
Not including young people causes economic stress, unemployment and inequality. 
In fragile or post-conflict states, mostly based in Africa, violence is a response to disempowerment, social exclusion and poor economic conditions. Also young people, especially young men, are often seen as dangerous trouble-makers and people ignore the underlying social, economic and political causes for youth anger and violence. Another problem is that some countries are underdeveloped where high levels of instability, violent conflicts and corruption are dominated.