Young people find it hard to transition to stable adulthood – UNICEF

1 UNICEF study youth
Young people in Jordan find it hard to find jobs that meet their aspirations. (Photo:
AMMAN — Young people in Jordan find transition into adulthood does not meet with their aspirations, as jobs they aspire to have are unattainable, UNICEF revealed in its “Youth Social Economic Aspirations” study.اضافة اعلان

The study was discussed at a conference Tuesday attended by Minister of Youth Mohammad Nabulsi, who said that the aim was to “create a supportive and safe environment for youth, promote a culture of entrepreneurship, encourage young women to engage in the labor market and create the appropriate environment for them,” according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra.

The study found that more than three-quarters of Jordanian women were unemployed and 90 percent of women aged between 18 and 24 are unemployed. Roughly one third of the Jordanian population is aged between 16 and 30 years old.

The study found that access to public spaces is heavily gender influenced, despite a general attitude supportive of gender equality. While accepting gender equality  in theory, it was not as accepted in practice among both Jordanian and Syrian men, the study found.

It did however find some progress has been made towards gender equality in higher education, with 60 percent of Jordanian women pursuing higher education compared to just 40 percent of young Jordanian men.

The study found that most young people associated adulthood with personality traits such as maturity and having economic stability enough to get married, instead of associating it with having key responsibilities and achieving certain milestones. 

Men link transition into adulthood to securing a job and being able to pursue marriage, the study found, but because of the lack of employment, this transition is being delayed. By contrast, Syrian men were found to marry at an age they deem acceptable regardless of financial stability.

“We will spare no effort in investing in youth in terms of education, training and qualifications, to enable them to address internal and external challenges with awareness and competence,” Nabulsi said.

He said that youth economic empowerment is a national priority that requires joint efforts from all sectors. 

The ministry has developed training programs to enhance youth capabilities and entrepreneurial skills, Nabulsi said, and launched national leadership forums, localized youth initiatives in youth centers. 

He added that they were sparing no effort in supporting young entrepreneurs, channeling their energies, and promoting their economic and social participation.

The conference was also attended by UNICEF’s Jordan representative, Tanya Chapuisat, and professor Ragui Assaad of the University of Minnesota, to discuss the findings and analyze solutions to the problems presented. The study was implemented by St Catherine University, Saint Paul, Minnesota, and it was funded by the governments of Canada and the US.

“UNICEF will continue to work with the government of Jordan to engage all of Jordan’s vulnerable adolescent and young people in activities that will facilitate their social and economic engagement, with particular focus on young women,” Chapuisat said.

The nationally representative study surveyed 2,854 households and 4,538 young Jordanians and Syrians aged between 16 and 30 years old.
One success story was presented at the conference, the case study of Hajar, a young woman from Tafileh who was able to finish high school and decided to forego university to create her own cake business. Hajar was able to capitalize on the fact that most of the people within her governorate travel to Amman to by customized cakes. She created her cake business with funding from government grants and she now operates the business out of her kitchen.
Youth economic, social, and political empowerment is the main objective to counter the high unemployment rate. Jordan has adopted the National Employment Strategy (2011–2020) to reduce unemployment, create more jobs, reduce the wage gap, but most importantly, create opportunity. 

Read more National news