Adolescence, Youth and Gender

The current generation of youth have grown up under the Millennium Development Goals, with high aspirations for schooling and for moving out of poverty. As young children, many of the Young Lives cohorts benefited from policy investments in health and education that were implemented as part of efforts to achieve MDG targets.  Compared to a few decades ago, they are more likely to spend their adolescence in school, to postpone entry into the labour force, and to delay marriage and childbearing.

However, young people face different risk factors, and some of these investments in early childhood may subsequently be undone if policy attention is not brought to bear on this later life-stage as well.

By following the life-course of children as they leave early childhood, enter adolescence and transition into adulthood, we gain invaluable insights into how the risks and opportunities they encounter along the way can impact on their long-term outcomes. Gender becomes a more significant factor during adolescence, affecting boys and girls in different ways at different times. 

These insights highlight key opportunities for policymakers to provide support to adolescents and their families: by putting social protection measures in place to mitigate the effects of poverty; by dismantling barriers that prevent young people from continuing education; by creating employment opportunities that encourage parents and children to invest in their futures; and by improving access to health services and information and support networks. Investing policy attention on this decisive period of children’s lives could result in more positive outcomes for both girls and boys in terms of education, economic participation, social capital, well-being and empowerment, and ensure the hard-won gains of early childhood are not lost.

Latest research: Gender, adolescence & youth

Marital and Fertility Decision-making: The Lived Experiences of Adolescents and Young Married Couples in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, India
Research Report
SNAPSHOT Adolescence provides a second crucial window of opportunity to address child poverty
IMPACT CASE STUDY Influencing policy on child marriage in India and Ethiopia
Impact case study
Push Out, Pull Out or Opting Out? Reasons Cited by Adolescents for Discontinuing Education in Four Low- and Middle-Income Countries
Book / chapter
Care labour as temporal vulnerability in woman-child relations
Book / chapter
‘I Will Achieve Everything On My Own’: The Association Between Early Psychosocial Skills and Educational Progression Through Adolescence in India
Working paper
Starting Together, Growing Apart: Gender Gaps in Learning from Preschool to Adulthood in Four Developing Countries
Working paper
Patterns and Drivers of Internal Migration
Patterns and Drivers of Internal Migration Among Youth in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam
Working paper

Research Countries