Societies in the global south have in recent times been confronted by pervasive ‘contemporary gender and youth questions.’ In an increasingly changing world that is characterised by unprecedented transformational developments characterised by advances in information and communication technology, the altering of climatic conditions and environments, changes in national and international economies, globalisation, changes in cultural traditions and value systems amongst a host of other dynamics, questions arise on the current realities of women and the youth. While women and the youth constitute a majority globally and play important socio-economic and political roles, it is widely acknowledged that despite their levels of education, experience, abilities and character they face numerous challenges which have hindered their development and contribution to society. Attitudes, traditions, misogyny and the complex interaction of women and the youth with other identity markers such as race, ethnicity, sexuality, nation, religion, femininity, masculinity other factors contribute in different ways to social organisation and the way in which these groups are perceived, accepted and provided with opportunities to participate in the socio-economic and political spheres of society. In most instances, these have traditionally impeded on their full participation in society and contributed to inequalities and inequities consequently impeding their potential to positively contribute to society. In the global South, it is widely acknowledged that women and the youth have an important role to play in socio-economic and political development but there is a dearth of knowledge on the current status of women and the youth in an everchanging world.
AfriFuture notes the important role which women and the youth play in economic and sustainable development. They are also seen as pivotal in Africa’s futures and in the quest towards sustainable development and economic transformation. It thus has this research unit titled Gender and Youth Studies Unit that is dedicated to undertaking contemporary research on gender and youth dynamics in the global south. It seeks to provide critical contributions to the gender and youth discourse, knowledge generation and policymaking. It will capacitate practitioners, institutions, academics and activists in the field of gender and youth development.