Participation of young people leads to better decisions
One of the aims of Swedish youth policy is for all young people to have genuine opportunities to influence. This means that young people should have the same opportunities as others to take an active part in the democratic process and to influence circumstance both at personal level and in society as a whole. The active participation of young people is important not only in terms of rights, but also because young people's experiences and perspectives are a resource and an asset in the decision-making process.
Active participation by young people in associations can lead to personal development, enhanced social skills, democratic training, responsibility, informal learning and increased employability. Political interest and commitment among young people are awakened by discussions of politics and other social issues. Alongside associations, schools also play an important role in this as arenas for discussion and dialogue.
The following are the Government's most important measures in the area:
Support for autonomous organisation by young people
Every year almost 100 national youth organisations take advantage of the Government's considerable support to autonomous organisation by young people. The grant aims to support autonomous organisation on the part of children and young people and their influence in society. The Government has approved a new ordinance for the allocation of the government grant.
Proposal for new act on prohibition of age discrimination
A Government proposal to extend the prohibition of age discrimination to areas of society where such protection is currently lacking under the Discrimination Act has been referred to the Council on Legislation for consideration. At present, the prohibition of age discrimination only applies to the area of employment and education. Under the proposal, the new act will enter into force on 1 January 2013.
Analysis of young people's influence
On instructions from the Government, the Swedish National Board for Youth Affairs has conducted an in-depth analysis of young people's influence and representation. In its report 'Focus 10 - an analysis of young people's influence', the Board highlights young people's opportunities for influence and participation in a representative democracy, their families, school, working life and leisure time. Young people's volunteering, confidence in democracy and sense of community involvement were also studied. The analysis goes into greater depth on the differences between young people in different geographical environments in terms of influence, and the question of whether young people today participate in different ways compared with previously.