Completely unfair and has to stop

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Young people have suffered stereotyping, discrimination and unjust comments because of their age for many years, whether in the workplace, online or in the street. I believe this is unfair and has to stop.

One of the ways in which the youth of today are treated poorly is work. Not only is it hard for 16-year-olds to find work, once they have the discrimination does not stop. Employers are required to pay young people average minimum wage at least if they are working up to standard and the required hours. However, many businesses refuse to pay this. Companies often treat young people unfairly due to their age and do not believe they deserve equal pay with workers who are older and possibly more experienced. This happens even if the younger employee is working equal shifts or equal hours to the older employee. Unfortunately, this is a small part of the discrimination we young people experience daily.

‘Emos’, ‘Goths’ and ‘Chavs’ are just some of the names that ‘youths’ are called by not only older generations but also by fellow young people. This, on most occasions, is solely because of the way they dress. This makes many young people feel as though they cannot dress the way they feel most comfortable, confident and free. There have been numerous incidents where names such as ‘Chav’ are used as insults. This may be to bully the person or make them feel uncomfortable. People often feel the need to make fun of the way people dress just because they disagree with their style or may even be jealous of it. Younger generations mainly do this to hide their insecurities. This is unfair. However, the older generations often hold a negative view of the people that dress this way based on stereotypes from when they were younger. This often leads to such fashions being associated with criminal, violent or threatening behaviour, therefore creating a negative image of them. This is unfair and unacceptable.

There is an assumption, mainly made by older generations, that because young people ‘hang around’ in groups they are intent on no good. The majority of the time this is untrue. In fact, they are passing their time or catching up with friends. This is due to the lack of facilities and youth clubs for them to meet in. This, in turn, is due to the Government cutting funding to local councils. People presume that because a group, which may not be large, are walking around the streets, they are dangerous and the public should be concerned. This is unfair as it is rarely true.

Although all of the above reasons are enough to show you that young people are treated poorly, I believe that the minimum voting age being 18 is the worst way young people are discriminated against. Young people are not seen to have important voices and many people do not believe that people below the age of 18 are capable of making a vote based on informed choices. In fact, including myself, many young people are very passionate about politics and would love to get their voices heard by their communities, and possibly even parliament. Making the minimum voting age 18 prevents this from happening and actually discourages them from getting involved in politics at a young age. I strongly believe that the minimum voting age should be lowered as this will allow young people to have a say in the decisions that are made about their own futures. It is unfair that young people cannot even have a say in decisions that may impact their adult lives, and that older generations can.

Shona Rooney

Outwood Academy City, Sheffield