Five-hundred million people around the world live on less than $ 2 a day, 43% of young labor force is either unemployed or a victim of improper remuneration. These data are impressive, although not entirely surprising; youth unemployment is a prelude to the broader problem of unemployment in adulthood; it is linked to the global recession that has been suffocating economy for years now. Yet, it is obvious that “living” on less than $2 a day means, in the best case scenario, “surviving”.
This is what comes out of the latest report released by Oxfam (an Italian humanitarian association born in Tuscany more than 30 years ago, currently a member of a large international coalition of 15 organizations, which operates in 98 countries to fight poverty worldwide). The report is entitled “Young people and inequality: it is time to make the new generations protagonists of their own future”.
Today, in the world there are more young people than at any other time in history: 1.8 billion are those aged between 10 and 24 years. Yet, over 500 million young people between 15 and 24 years live on less than $2 a day, and many of them are excluded from decision-making processes and are more and more exposed to the impact of the economic crisis.
The report, released as part of the campaign “Challenge Injustice”, shows that young people are still the ones who suffer the most because of the international economic crisis that began in 2008: 43% of the world workforce is unemployed or victim of improper remuneration. The situation of many workers remains precarious. According to a 2015 report, the International Labour Organization (ILO), 46 young people out of 100 have no choice but to accept risky and dangerous jobs or informal contracts that do not allow them to exercise their rights.
Italy is not an exception to these general statistics. The rate of youth unemployment (among young people from 15 to 24 years of age) reached 36.5% in June, according to Istat. What we witness is a global context where, despite a 50% growth (between 2013 and 2014) of the number of governments that have adopted National Action Plans for Youth, there is still much to be done.
As we have already mentioned, this problem does not concern only the underdeveloped countries. Young Canadians, for instance, face the highest underemployment rate in their history – reads the report -, whereas access to higher education is increasingly out of reach, especially for young immigrants. The cost of enrollment in a degree program has more than tripled; according to the Canadian Federation of Students, ‘today’s students are the most indebted generation in Canadian history.
“Through this report – stressed Oxfam Italian campaigns coordinator, Elisa Bacciotti -, we call on world leaders to focus on young people and make them become the driving force of positive changes for everyone.”
Almost 126 million young people worldwide, especially in poor countries, are still victims of illiteracy; besides, in some countries, young women are more likely to die in childbirth than to finish school. This global context demands reflection, whose starting point has to be young people’s righ to find new and different solutions.