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Major Reasons for Youth Unemployment in the Middle East


From VOA's interview with American University professor Diane Singerman

--There is a youth bulge in the Middle East, which means that a very high ppercentage of the population is young. In fact, about 60 percent of the population is considered "youthful."

--Education is not delivering jobs for young Middle Easterners. They are educated, but not in things that are necessarily where the jobs are. Some say, "young people are hedonistic, young people are Westernized, young people are lazy," but you have to look at what types of choices the governments have made to educate those people in ways that they will be able to have the skills and the talents to figure out their careers.

--Gender expectations play a role. Young women in the Middle East are three times more likely than men to be unemployed. If women are not making a lot of money in the first place, and they feel vulnerable at work, and then on top of it, they are criticized by some for not keeping up their domestic duties, some of them feel it is not a rational decision for them to work.

--Young people often feel repressed in the Middle East. If governments want young people to contribute and want their energy, they need to invite them in and give them a voice.

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    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea.

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