Gender and Age in the Construction of Male Youth in the European Migration “Crisis”
Displacement is clearly gendered; age also has a strong influence on outcomes and experiences for the displaced, including a significant impact on how they are understood by the public and policy makers. It is important to keep this in mind when considering how children and youth are understood within contexts of conflict and insecurity, how they are affected by these forces, and how they navigate their lives in these contexts, especially in seeking peaceful outcomes.
Here we engage with the current so-called European migration crisis as a potential watershed moment in understandings of children and youth as refugees. In particular, we suggest that the public representations of young people in this context can be deeply influenced by stereotypes and assumptions around gender and age that may—intentionally or inadvertently—lead to greater insecurity for people of diverse genders and ages. Likewise, we argue that when considering scholarship, policy, and practice in relation to migration, it is critical to develop and apply a lens that accounts for both gender and age.