Jasmine Brittan,
Future Leaders Network

Simply put, Youthwashing refers to  the act of inviting young members of society to meetings with high profile individuals with the aim of appearing to be listening to the younger generation’s voice and creating positive progress. In most instances, this is not the case as politicians and senior individuals use these meetings as  PR stunts by taking photos at the events to post on media channels.

Despite young people having the opportunity to share their views, appropriate improvements are rarely made. Ultimately, young people are being exploited to make individuals and companies look good. This can include instances such as Greta Thunberg being invited to speak at large UN conferences, where the points she is conveying are not being met with impactful action.  Recent examples of Youthwashing have occurred at major events such as  COP27, where Youth Delegates  are present for photos, but not allowed to contribute their ideas in their nation’s negotiations and decision-making. We will continue to show up and our voices will be heard where it matters.

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