Civil society is a critical forum through which citizens can engage and advocate for their interests in political processes. It is therefore vital that all citizens, including young people, have equal opportunities to participate in civil society. While in many cases civil society organizations (CSOs) are leading the fight for universally recognized human rights, civil society may also be a space in which inequality and other forms of discrimination are reproduced. CSOs that are youth-led or focused on youth and other marginalized identities are often seen by other governance stakeholders as “niche” or minority organizations and face challenges inserting their issues and perspectives into political discourse, even when they advocate on “general” and non-minority issues.
By failing to be inclusive of youth and complex marginalized identities in their approach, CSOs may also perpetuate inequality and other forms of discrimination, thereby weakening the democratic culture they seek to strengthen.
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