Listening to young people: Mobility for future (EN)

Focus groups: Transnational group discussions

As far as seeing the challenges of climate change from a technological angle.

Looking at statistics concerning gender-sensitive partici- pation of young people in nature-related or environmen- tal action, nothing suggests a significant discrepancy in the participation of young men versus young women when it comes to publicly funded youth work activities 6 (cf. Statistisches Bundesamt 2021, p. 21 et seqq.). This changes, however, when looking at voluntary engage- ment in youth work: across all age groups there is a dominance of female volunteers over their male peers, at least in Germany. Breaking the data down by age, the largest number of female volunteers is found in the under-16 and 16–18 age groups (cf. ibid., p. 30 et seq.). Unfortunately, the data are not differentiated by themat- ic focus, only by type of activity, so it is not possible to draw any more specific conclusions concerning nature- and environment-related action. That said, looking at other forms of voluntary engagement outside of the youth work field, there appears to be no significant dif- ference (at least in Germany) between male and female engagement (cf. Simonson et al. 2021, p. 15). Neither do the data suggest a significant gender difference in nature- and environment-related action (cf. Simonson et al. 2021, p. 22 et seq.). This may indicate a gender-re- lated specificity in youth work that should be further explored, especially in international contexts. In feminist discourse, gender-based attribution processes are seen as problematic if, e.g., in the context of climate-related debates existing inequalities are seen through an inter- sectional 7 – and hence gender-related – lens (cf. Çağlar et al. 2012, p. 7 et seqq.).

Participants suggested that technology was available to curb climate change in the shape of new scientific ideas, carbon-neutral products and innovations.

Maybe, they said, men were more likely to take action of this kind, such as participating in, e.g., research and development, rather than filling in questionnaires. Some participants felt that women may be more likely to join groups or organisations that deal with feminist issues and are hence more used to raising their voices when it comes to causes involving (social) justice. These groups and organisations, they hypothesised, often had thematic overlaps with climate and environmental issues and groups.

6 The study referenced here performs a biennial analysis of all youth work activities broken down by open and group-based activities as well as of events and projects that took place in the year under review (cf. Statistisches Bundesamt 2021, p. 3). The statistics in question relate to 2019. 7 The term “intersectionality” refers to the combination of various structural categories that can lead to inequality. Besides gender, they include ethnicity, social class, nationality, sexual orientation, disability and age. Intersectional theory seeks to analyse the way these categories interact to produce social inequality and to point out that forms of oppression and disadvantage should not be interpreted as additive, but rather need to be seen as combinatory and mutually interactive (Küppers 2014).


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