Work as a factor in the construction of a life plan for working children and adolescents. As examined by a gender-based approach

Participation of working children has a historical foothold in Latin America that is gradually increasing. There are several reasons for this, from traditional and cultural forms—where children get involved in collective, family tasks as part of their upbringing, socialising, and affection— to reasons seeking economic income—through self-employment or serving third parties— as a survival strategy. In this process, the characteristics of the work performed by working children and adolescents are of vital importance, for they may have positive or negative consequences for their lives, as long as they comply (or not) with decent conditions for their development.

The gender division of work is created with the social constructs of gender. The immediate consequence of this process is the working overload for women, which limits their access to other developmental spaces, such as education, paid work, political participation, among others. The aforementioned blossoms and grows within a patriarchal society, which legitimises the assignment of discriminatory roles for women and men, and which reinforces the recurrence of attitudes and behaviours that do not recognise equally the value of men and women in the different spaces of socializing, generating a variety of impacts in the lives of working children and adolescents. Thus, Save the Children International and Save the Children Canada, within the project “Children Leading the Way”, conducted a qualitative research: Work as a factor for the construction of a life project for working children and adolescents. As examined by a gender-based approach.

This study seeks to explore and examine, from the viewpoint of working children and adolescents, the actual or non-existent contribution of work to achieve the desired life plan, considering the different features of life that have an impact in the rearing of children. The study was focused on six communities in Bolivia and Nicaragua —both urban and rural— and involved, other than working children and adolescents, the experiences of the families, organisations, authorities, and employers—all of them key actors for their training and socialising, and also enablers for the future of working children and adolescents.

Published 2016-02-25

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