Under-18s represent almost a third of the world’s population, yet unlike adults, they have no say in the rules and laws that govern their lives or in deciding who gets to make them. But is it fair to systematically silence such a vast number of people just because of their age? Or is it discrimination on an unprecedented level?
With the 10 questions below, we take a critical look at how societies and the law see and treat children around the world, in order to help us acknowledge a status quo that’s gone on long enough.
- Is it fair that… age restrictions exist for children but not for seniors?
- Is it fair that… children can be paid less than adults for doing the same work?
- Is it fair that… in most countries, it’s legal to smack children but it isn’t legal to smack adults?
- Is it fair that… we refer to immature behaviour as ‘childish’ even though it’s adults who behave like this?
- Is it fair that… children abide by the law just like adults yet they have no say in choosing who makes the law, unlike adults?
- Is it fair that… children are told not to swear yet adults do it all the time?
- Is it fair that… adults get to decide education policies but children don’t have a say on pensions?
- Is it fair that… children’s freedom of movement can be controlled through youth curfews but adults are free to roam around unrestricted?
- Is it fair that… children should bear the brunt of climate change in years to come when it was the decisions made by the adults in charge that led to this problem?
- Is it fair that… people with only a few years left to live can vote on the future of a country, but not children, who will outlive them?