Oppression of Children

By: Monica Caggianiello


Oppression is a type of injustice, it is the inequitable use of authority, law, social or physical force to prevent others from being free or equal. Oppression is a progressing issue that is not only developing in third world nations but first world nations as well. There are many organizations such as UNICEF, International Labor Organization, United Nations and many more that put a stop to children being oppressed. They set out laws and give opportunities for people to volunteer and help children in need. However, still with these organizations helping children, there are still kids out on the streets, homeless, children in child labor conditions, and children who are starving and are severely malnourished.
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The root of oppressed children are the people in power who do not have the motivation or care to raise these children out of poor living conditions and improve their quality of life at the expense of their greed.

Global Importance

Oppression is not only an issue that affects children in first world countries, but spreading it globally into third world countries. Children are said to be most oppressed in third world countries; these countries adapted oppression to be the norm. United Nations is an international organization that works to reach every corner of the globe. They are known for peacekeeping, peace building and conflict prevention. The UN works to define, monitor and assist Member States with the implementation of International Human Rights. The Committee on Rights of the Child (CRC) monitors implementation of the convention of the rights of the child. Emile Durkheim theorized that societies that do not reach goals, may lack agreement about the appropriate means by which people should strive to achieve their aspirations. In third world countries, those societies lack support from people who have the power to provide support. This is where the UN comes in and fills in the gaps of support globally, to all children in need of their basic fundamental rights. According to primary research, the question that was asked to people who were surveyed is, "do you think children are oppressed in third world countries?" Results came back with, 64% of individuals believing that children are being oppressed here in first world countries. On the other hand, 36% of individuals think children are not being oppressed in first world countries. All in all oppression of children has a huge global impact from every viewpoint of the world.

Oppression affecting Canadians

There are many cases of children being oppressed in first world countries such as Canada and United States. Children have the resources to not be oppressed, while in third world countries, resources are something children are lacking. Children who are oppressed in first world countries are malnourished, homeless, in poverty, and lack parental support. Canada ranks 18th of 35 industrialized nations – a middle position -- in the size of the gap between child poverty (14 percent) and population poverty (12 percent), according to the UNICEF organization. This is proven through the question from a survey conducted, "do you think children are oppressed in first world countries?". Results came back that 64% of people surveyed do think children are also oppressed in first world countries. Travis Hirshici theorized about the control theory, he said that conformity to social norms depends on presence of strong bonds between individuals and society. This is the root of oppressed children because if children lack the bond between themselves and their parents, they will not conform to social norms and evidently becoming oppressed through the separation from society.
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Oppression Affecting Quality of Life of all Humans

Child oppression affects the world as a whole. Oppression is similar to a supply chain as well as the relation to the cyclical theory. In the supply chain there are a various amount of steps in shipping goods and products, whereas in oppression there are steps to make children meet the standard of life we have in the Western world. If the supply chain is working efficiently and companies are producing their products with the global labor law expectations and standards, then there will be no bumps when it comes to the supply chain running smoothly. The cyclical theory is a theory of change proposes that change in society is like change in seasons. Oppression is a cycle because children are born, raised until a working age, go to work everyday for the rest of their lives and die and the vicious cycle continues. Emile Durkheim theorized about anomie, which is a social condition where norms are weak, conflicting or absent. In this case, children in third world countries experience anomie as what is considered norm in their culture, is actually weak in first world countries. Parental support, proper nutrition and shelter is absent in these countries. In first world countries when children are oppressed, they also experience anomie in similar ways.
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The Responsibility Of Canadians To Help The Challenges Of Global Social Change

Many Canadians are powerful enough to make a huge change in the world regarding oppressed children. According to UNICEF, they say "Canadians have to make children a priority in budget allocations and give them first call on the nation’s resources. Income transfers and tax benefits for children could be improved in a number of ways, given Canada’s level of spending relative to other affluent nations, such as by increasing the Child Tax Benefit to at least $5,000 and indexing it to inflation to lift thousands of children out of low income." (UNICEF, 2014) Lastly Canadians need to make governance child-sensitive; Canada needs to set an official definition of child poverty. Every jurisdiction, including the federal government, should have a strategy to eliminate child poverty with a target to reach the lowest level of child poverty in the industrialized world, at 5 percent. According to primary research, a question that was asked to surveyors, " do you think consumers from first world countries have the power to help developing nations stop oppression?". Results suggest that 58% of people that answered this question agreed, while 30% of the individuals strongly agreed. According to Wilbert Moore he says that "society motivates each person to aspire to the most significant work possible, and to work better, harder, and longer" (Macionis and Gerber, 1999). Therefore people holding power should make a change because it will benefit not only children but society as a whole.

Multinational Corporations Responsibility In Aiding People In Nations Where They Conduct Business

Companies and multinational corporations has the responsibility to help people in need especially when it comes to conducting and running their business on an international level. It is the responsibility of the company to have knowledge as to who is producing their product. Companies need to give out fair and livable wages to their workers abroad and treat them with respect as well as respecting the global labor laws. The purpose of global labor laws is to set and establish a worldwide minimum level of protection from inhumane labor practices. Analyzing results of a survey given out to individuals of age range chose no, that is 64% of the people surveyed. Therefore, if everyday citizens, who probably do not think about child labor in third world countries a lot, chose no, then there is an issue with the way CEO's are conducting their business internationally. Globally, there are reports that sweatshops are a huge issue within third world countries. An article was published on The Star with the title, "I got hired at a bangladesh sweatshop, meet my 9 year old boss.". Children in that sweatshop are being slaved from 9am-9pm, sitting in the middle of the floor sewing parts of clothing, without clean amenities or any windows to shed some light on the kids. This is showing that this is being employed by a company who either does not know children are producing their clothes, or simply not caring because they are producing their clothes at a cheap cost so their revenue and profits will increase. Companies such as Nike and the Gap were exposed for producing their products in conditions where children were working for them. Once these companies received hate from their consumers, they quickly made sure their products were being produced in acceptable working conditions.

Quality Of Life (HDI)

Quality of life is a standard of health, comfort, and happiness experienced by an individual or group. Oppressed children clearly have a poor quality of life as they lack proper health care, terrible living conditions, working in factories and having their youth striped away from them only provides children with a state of despair. The human developmental index (HDI) is a statistic produced by the United Nations and used to rank countries in three categories: health life (expectancy at birth), education (literacy rate and school environment), and standard of living (GDP per capita). United Nations HDI rated Canada as fourth best in the country. This rating can be controversial because there are parts of Canada, and parts of every neighbourhood that houses families and children who are in deep poverty. Malcolm Gladwell theorized the tipping point which discussed that the ultimate success of social epidemics relies on the talent of a small group of motivated individuals. In theory, he is saying that if there are enough individuals who have enough motivation and ambition to make a change, then a change will eventually be made. This is related to individuals and/or organizations improving the quality of life of children who are oppressed and helping them meet that standard of health, comfort, and happiness.


Through collecting, analyzing and concluding primary research as well as gaining more knowledge on the topic by doing extra research and analyzing. Results have concluded that many individuals believe that oppression not only happens in third world countries, but in first world countries. They also believe that most of the oppression from children in third world countries come from companies in first world countries that essentially demand cheap labor to third world employers. As well as, the majority of people also believe that individuals do have the power to help children not be oppressed. Although the majority of oppression is clearly happening in third world countries. However, children in first world countries have the resources to not be oppressed, they still are through deprivation of their youth.
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