Aung Ko; Myo Win Tin; Ei Ei Phyoe; Benjamn Thulayphaw; Zin Zin Moe Nyo

Department of Economics, Yangon University of Economics

There were 1.2 billion youth between the ages of 15 and 24 globally in 2015, accounting for one in six people worldwide. By 2030, the target date for the sustainable development goals (SDGs), the number of youth is projected to grow by 7 per cent, to nearly 1.3 billion (UN, 2015). Clearly, the youth are the world’s largest population group and global leaders need
to focus more on young people and involve them in their country’s development.

Cover Image Gender differences in civic engagement among the youth attending Yangon University of economics

Civic engagement is defined as “the ways in which citizens participate in the life of a community in order to improve conditions for others or to help shape the community’s future” (Adler and Goggin, 2005, pp. 236-253). Studies have shown that civic engagement is key to sustainable development and to healthy affairs of the state. It helps create a sense of citizenship and promotes a shared sense of contribution to a community’s future. By participating in civic activity, both collectivities and individuals can benefit physically or materially thereby improving infrastructure
and creating socio-economic growth and enhancing skills.

“Focusing on youth will ensure the sustainability of these investments in civic engagement and will facilitate the current generation’s transition to adulthood by equipping them with the skills and abilities to thrive in the setting of rapid and uncertain transformation” (Etra et al., 2010, p. 4). According to Htun Tin Htun (2015), the youth are “key agents for social change, and are providing the energy, creative ideas and determination to drive innovation and reform.” As the youth are key players in the further development of a country, we need to understand the extent of their civic engagement (out-of-school participation) in terms of nonpolitical (participation in activities relating to charity, education, social service, etc.) and political participation (involvement in public policy, political institutions, and formal and informal political reform activities). Also, we need to identify
the gender differences of youth civic engagement and the factors relating to this gender inequity. The sustainable development of Myanmar in the future will depend on the participation and civic engagement of the youth, the largest group of people in the country’s population.