Remember the Time: About the Youth and Decision-making

UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

At some point in our lives, we have all been young. The future still looked uncertain and the fear of not achieving our goals dominated our mind. Just remember those moments even if adolescence may now be just a golden memory somewhere in the past.

Young people are facing a lot of challenges when taking their first steps in working life. But it’s not only the problem of finding a job: young people are also prone to work longer hours without a proper compensation or adequate information about their rights on the collective labor agreement. Remember your first job. Whether it was at the local fast-food restaurant or a job that actually correlated fully with your education and competences, it was an important step in becoming independent. Still, fighting for your rights might have been difficult. By guaranteeing the realization of fundamental labor rights, and by offering possibilities for proper education and jobs, we can affect many levels of society including the aspects of social security. One could consider Arab spring as an example of the situation where these expectations weren’t met, which then led to an uprising of the unsatisfied youth who felt their voice wasn’t heard.

Youth associations in Finland have woken up to this call. It’s important to recognize the youth as a demographic group with need for special attention. The process may raise issues that are demanding but also possible to resolve. It is not just the national level that counts: in order to really make an impact on decision-makers, the cause must be recognized more widely. The importance of integrating different ideas into one powerful initiative is crucial since one person or country cannot make the difference alone. Against common presumptions, young people do have skills to make rational long-term decisions and influence the decision-making on higher levels than locally too, – also concerning social security. The youth needs forums to represent themselves and to be heard, forums such as respected youth associations and representatives in relevant decision-making bodies. As a result, more peaceful and stable societies will be built. In order to make these changes, we all need to remember how it was to be young.

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Nina Savela

Ms. Nina Savela is the President of UNYA Finland studying Political Science at the University of Turku.

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