‘No Say Day’: the last day youth voices are represented in parliaments around the world
50% of the world’s population is under 30, compared to just 2.6% of parliamentarians globally. If this ratio were reflected in a year, the views of those under 30 would stop being represented in parliaments around the world after the 9th of January.
UN Headquarters, New York, 9th January 2023: Today is No Say Day - the last day in 2023 when young people’s voices are represented in parliaments around the world. This falls a week before world leaders and businesses gather in Davos for the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. Often criticised for being out of touch, Davos is a prime example of the need for more youth voices in decision making spaces.
Just nine days into 2023, No Say Day is a stark demonstration of the fact that millions of young voices are excluded from decision-making spaces at a time when the world is facing extreme systemic challenges.
No Say Day is being marked as part of the Be Seen Be Heard campaign, led by The Body Shop in collaboration with the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth to raise the voices of millions of young people in over 75 countries across six continents.
Public opinion is widely in favour of fairer political representation for young people. According to The Body Shop’s largest-ever global survey, two thirds of people agree that the age balance in politics is wrong.
People across all age groups agree that political systems would be improved by giving young people a say in policy development. Young people are optimistic and determined to increase their involvement in public life. A third of those under age 30 surveyed would consider running for office, versus only a fifth of those over age 30.
The global campaign from the Body Shop and the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth launched in May 2022. In under a year, the campaign has already supported four significant examples of progress around the world.
The Be Seen Be Heard campaign will run until mid-2025 and seeks ways for young people to be better represented in parliaments around the world — from lowering the age in which people can run for public office in Japan and India, to lowering the voting age in the UK and New Zealand, to encouraging more young people to register to vote in the United States.
The campaign's key objective is to change one piece of legislation or policy, or support programming to promote youth participation in public life, in over 75 countries around the world where The Body Shop operates.
You can read more about the campaign, its aims and partners here.