REFLECTIONS ON THE COMMONWEALTH YOUTH PARLIAMENT: A YEAR THAT ASKED QUESTIONS
Updated: Apr 12, 2022
By Taofeekat Adigun
The Commonwealth Youth Gender and Equality Network (CYGEN) is a network of young experts advocating for gender equality and the rights of women, girls, and LGBTQ+ people across the Commonwealth. Following her participation at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s virtual Commonwealth Youth Parliament in December 2020, Taofeekat Adigun reflects on the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on employment opportunities for youth, women, LGBTQ+ people and BAME communities.
One of the key issues discussed at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s first-ever virtual Commonwealth Youth Parliament (CYP) was COVID-19 and Unemployment. Rightfully so, given the impacts COVID-19 have had on the economy. I represented the Commonwealth Youth Gender and Equality Network (CYGEN) as an expert witness for a committee session of the CYP and had the pleasure of discussing the disrupting impacts of COVID-19 on employment for youth; women; LGBTQ+ people; Black Asian, and Minority ethnic (BAME) communities; and people living with disabilities with fellow youth delegates from across the Commonwealth.
Sadly, the youth workforce has been vulnerable to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The various responses taken to fight the pandemic have resulted in economic shutdowns across the globe. Industries employing the majority of working youth and women such as retail, food services, hospitality and travel were hit hardest by the pandemic leaving millions unemployed and out of work. According to a preliminary assessment report by The International Labor Organization, COVID-19 has increased unemployment and underemployment, while widening inequalities with a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable, namely youth and women. The impacts of the pandemic on youth labour market outcomes have been severe in developed, emerging and developing countries.
COVID-19 IMPACTS ON JOB OUTLOOKS