Gender dynamics should be considered when designing, implementing and evaluating any DRG program involving youth. Although age discrimination affects all youth, young women are further excluded from politics due to sociocultural and institutional norms regarding women's political participation. This section includes resources regarding gender and women's political participation that can support inclusive youth DRG programs.

From Silos to Synergy: Learning From Politically Informed, Gender Aware Programs

How can a gendered understanding of power and politics make development work more effective? Many development programs tend to look at gender issues and politics separately. Through a series of case studies, this research asks what we can learn from more integrated approaches. It includes: a briefing note that highlights key lessons; a literature review on thinking and working politically and gender equality; a context paper, and three in-depth studies that examine how gender and politics came together in social change processes − women political leaders in the Pacific − labour reform in Vietnam’s garment industry − transgender empowerment and social inclusion in Indonesia; 14 short case studies of development programs that aim to be both politically informed and gender aware; and a synthesis of their key insights.

Democracy Support Strategies Leading with Women’s Political Empowerment

With many emerging democracies experiencing stagnation or setbacks, providers of democracy support are struggling to tailor assistance strategies to highly varied transitional contexts. As a crucial area of international aid for democracy as well as for development more generally, efforts to bolster women’s political empowerment share this challenge. Strategic differentiation not only helps identify what types of programs may be most effective in advancing gender equality in politics but also reveals how this work can be a critical lever for broader change where attempted transitions have slipped into dysfunctional patterns.

Involvement of Young Women in Politics

As numbers of women in politics around the world increase, young women may become more inspired to take part in politics. This may in part be because more women than ever before receive higher education, participate in the global workforce, and hold professional decision making positions, which in turn should lead to a strengthened role and status of women in society. Additionally, more women in politics can serve as positive role-models for young women who aspire to make policy changes in their countries. At the same time, women face more barriers than men when entering politics, which is even more difficult for young women who, in some instances, face double discrimination of age and gender. This consolidated response highlights the skills and techniques that young women can use to get involved and gain recognition in politics. The response specifically highlights the importance of developing strong communications skills, building support networks both within and outside political parties, volunteering and getting involved in community and nonprofit organizations, and staying informed about socio-political issues.

Traditional and new forms of young women’s political engagement in a transitional context

Following the liberation of the political participation sphere brought by the “January 14 Revolution”, interests were revivified for research on politics and relationships between co-citizens, particularly youth which had been for long perceived to be apolitical, shut away in their private sphere. The Tunisian Revolution has indeed changed society’s perception on youth not willing to engage in politics, as it showed that they were actually interested but differently. The Authoritarian regime of Ben Ali affected political engagement by increasing its repercussions (risks taken by engaging in protest movements), and by implying rejection of politics. The change witnessed since the Revolution in the structure of political opportunities (new context of democratic transition) has to some degree increased participation opportunities. Did youth political participation increased after the revolution? Do they prefer other outlines of participation/engagement to party support? Do their political practices and perception of politics reflect any crisis in the representation system? This study was realized in the framework of the project “Young women and public participation: institutional and informal mobilization paving the way to future actions” initiated by the Centre of Arab women for training and research -CAWTAR- and financed by the International development research centre -IDRC-. In this study we attempt to answer some of these issues by focusing on a special category: Women. Our focus in this study is specifically young women regarding the persistent poor representation of women in politics and chiefly young women’s representation. 

Turn up the volume: Adolescent girls and young women using their voice

Partners in a new consortium, The National Democratic Institute, The Population Council, Running Start and Women Win, convened a meeting in the margins of this year’s General Assembly to present their idea for an innovative program to increase the political confidence of adolescent girls and young women around the world. Through multi-year, multi-country piloting programs it will empower adolescent girls and young women to lead positive, sustainable change ​in  ​their  ​lives ​​and​ ​in ​their communities. In New York, the young women shared their different experiences of building political confidence at an early age. Some had benefited from, or had themselves established, peer networks that provided the solidarity needed to inspire political confidence. Their confidence lit up the room, and they told stories which all converged to the same point: girls’ confidence peaks in early adolescence, and, once they hit puberty, their horizons shrink while their male counterparts’ horizons expand. We know that the global community has capitalized on young women’s confidence by investing heavily in traditional personal development areas -- education, financial management, skills training, reproductive health -- during these formative years. However, little is being done to develop their political literacy and civic engagement skills. We can teach adolescent girls and young women that they have the right to guard their health, make decisions about their own schooling and earn the same wages as a man, but if they don’t have the capacity to advocate and legislate around those rights, any progress made is unsustainable, and, indeed, any gains can ​​easily ​be ​​lost.