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UNICEF releases report on prejudices among Chilean youth
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Fecha: Noviembre 22, 2011 | Fuente: The santiago times

UNICEF releases report on prejudices among Chilean youth

UNICEF released a report Tuesday that chronicles prejudice among children worldwide. The report, titled ?The Voice of Children and Adolescents and Discrimination,? found that over the last seven years Chilean children?s views on family life had improved, but views of gender inequality remained the same.

UNICEF interviewed 1,614 students from seventh through 12th grade across the country to follow up a previous study on the subject conducted in 2004. The interviews focused on eight areas where children might experience discrimination or might discriminate against others.

Attitudes toward family life and immigration were the areas featuring the biggest improvements since the 2004 study.

Seventeen percent of adolescents interviewed believed that having a father figure was crucial to be considered a real family, for example, compared to 26 percent in 2004. Prejudices associated with children whose parents were separated were also less common, with 28 percent believing that such children were troubled, compared to 48 percent in 2004.

Soledad Larraín, a UNICEF consultant, told La Tercera that although prejudices against  unconventional families remain high, they are steadily decreasing due to a positive, public discussion on the topic on families, which is reflected in the views of children.

Chilean students’ outlook on people living with disabilities also improved. In 2004, 27 percent believed that disabled students should be placed in separate schools so as to not hinder learning, while in 2011 the figure fell to 20 percent.

In some areas, such as gender equality, discrimination has remained stagnant or even  risen since 2004. Seventy-nine percent of children interviewed, for example, said men should protect women for no other reason than because women are “weak,” not far from the 80.5 percent recorded in 2004.

“This scenario raises a lot of red flags, because it is an issue that the school system works on very little,” Larraín told La Tercera about gender equality. “What's worse is that there is a different concept in terms of equality between men and women from a very young age.”

Discrimination against people with AIDS increased notably over the period, with the number of students responding that children with AIDS should be kept in separate schools rising 12 points from 16 percent in 2004 to 28 percent.

Larraín said that it was up to parents and the school system to better educate their children about AIDS, saying, “These are fears that children get from their parents. They are issues that have hardly been addressed in the school system. Programs need to break the myths about AIDS, regardless of whether there are HIV-positive children in the schools.”

The most mixed results related to views on Chile’s indigenous communities, with 52 percent of children interviewed saying that indigenous people are just as capable as Chileans. Twenty-eight percent said that Chile is more developed than neighboring countries because it has fewer indigenous communities. 

UNICEF’s previous studies chronicling the life of children in Chile include reports on repeat juvenile offenders and general poverty among children.

By Stephen Shea (
Copyright 2011 – The Santiago Times




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