Gender and adolescence

Recent years have seen increasing research and policy interest focused on adolescence as a critical phase of life. Between the ages of 10 and 19, children undergo many key transitions in schooling, work, roles and responsibilities, family relationships and fertility as they approach adulthood. As the Younger Cohort enter adolescence (they were aged 12 to 13 during the Round 4 survey) and the Older Cohort become young adults (aged 19 to 20), the opportunities available to them and the constraints they face, become increasingly important. This may affect the choices they make around education (whether to stay in school and progress to further education), whether to leave school and start work (and what employment opportunities are available), migration, sexual and reproductive health, marriage and parenthood.

Related to this, we are investigating inequality in order to understand the factors that can improve young people’s outcomes and opportunities. We are looking at gender in terms of the life-course to understand how gender affects children’s life-chances throughout childhood and into young adulthood.

Adolescence is a time when new opportunities open up, but also new risks emerge. For example, we find that some families fear that increasing opportunities for girls to study and delay marriage may put them at others risks such as physical and sexual attacks or of later not being able to find a suitable husband. Adolescent girls in Ethiopia and in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana generally report greater restrictions on their mobility than adolescent boys. However, boys face different pressures: by age 15, boys in rural Ethiopia, Peru and Vietnam were more likely than girls to have dropped out of school, possibly explained by their higher wage-earning potential.

What's New

Adolescent boys and gendered social transitions, DSA conference presentation by Gina Crivello and Nikki van der Gaag



Gender and AdolescenceHow Gender Shapes Adolescence: Diverging Paths and Opportunities, Young Lives Policy Brief 22




Routledge Gender HBGender, Development, Children and Young People, chapter by Jo Boyden, Virginia Morrow and Gina Crivello in The Routledge Handbook of Gender and Development.



From Infancy to AdolescenceFrom Infancy to Adolescence: Preliminary Findings from Round 4, Paul Dornan and Kirrily Pells




 New research programme: Gender, Poverty and Transitions to Adulthood




alula_youtube-Dec2013Blog: Beyond the Girl Summit: Creating a legacy of health, education and empowerment


Our research agenda: Gender and adolescence

Our ongoing research strategy and where Young Lives can contribute are set out in our research agenda on Gender and Adolescence.

We need to end child poverty in order to break the cycle of poverty.