Across the world traditional milestones are shifting - leaving education, achieving financial independence and building a family Even if these markers are never desired, one thing is clear: getting to adulthood is happening later than ever. More and more young people are experiencing ‘Waithood.’
‘Waithood' was first defined by Diane Singerman in 2008 when she observed couples in the Middle East marrying later and later. The high rate of youth unemployment played a role but the “marriage imperative” shifted. In many parts of the world young married couples start out with little and then build their financial future. In the Middle East, the process is reversed. With many young men and women experiencing “Waithood” as they wait for good jobs, marriage and intimacy, they wait too for full participation in their societies.
Across three programmes for the BBC World Service we examine ‘Waithood' in communities in Africa and Europe. What are their markers of coming of age? What do the young feel they need to become adults? What happens when the models for organising one’s life become unattainable, obsolete or undesirable?