A few steps to start tackling ageism against young people

A few steps to start tackling ageism against young people

Wondering how to tackle ageism against young people? The European Youth Forum is giving you a check-list to start with.

Adopting and/or adapting laws and policies. Laws and policies currently do not go far enough to protect young people from age-based discrimination across all areas of life. At EU level, there is no legal protection against age-based discrimination beyond the field of employment. However, non-discrimination laws alone are unlikely to address deeply ingrained ageist attitudes and structural discrimination against young people.

Acknowledging and raising awareness about ageism. To tackle the pervasiveness of ageism, commonly held assumptions and beliefs regarding youth should be challenged.

Conducting research into how young people experience age-based discrimination, as well as multiple and intersecting forms discrimination, will allow for a more holistic, evidence-based approach discrimination against young people.

Embracing the rights-based approach. Shifting away from the traditional ‘social policies’ approach to youth and towards a rights-based approach will facilitate the recognition of young people as rights-holders, placing greater emphasis on their rights.

Prioritising youth participation. One of the principles of a rights-based approach is participation, and a popular motto is ‘nothing about us, without us’. This should also apply to young people and youth organisations, by involving them in a meaningful way when designing policies and legislation on matters affecting them.

Building coalitions. Youth organisations should work with civil society actors that focus predominantly on other grounds of discrimination in order to jointly put a spotlight on the impact of age-based, as well as multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, on young people.


Interested to find out more? Read also:

Ageism: the youth perspective by the European Youth Forum

Our thematic page on ageism and intergenerational solidarity


And have a look at some of the European Youth Forum’s resources:

Excluding youth: a threat to our future

Young people and democratic life in Europe

Multiple discrimination and young people in Europe


The European Youth Forum is the platform of the national youth councils and international non-governmental youth organisations in Europe. The Youth Forum works to empower young people to participate actively in society to improve their own lives by representing and advocating their needs and interest and those of their organisations. Learn more on their website: www.youthforum.org


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