Bow Poundage will vary depending on the purpose of the equipment and the age and strength of the archer.
FOR RECREATIONAL SHOOTING:
Generally adults shooting recreational equipment will use equipment that is 25# pull and up. Since the arrow need only penetrate the target face to do it's job heavy poundage is not necessary. A first time male archer would probably enjoy a 30# to 45# recurve or a 40# to 60# compound bow. Women usually can handle a 25# to 35# recurve or a 30# to 45# compound bow. Keep in mind that the muscles used to pull a bow usually aren't developed when you begin shooting so the bow you choose may be a bit difficult to draw at first but after several shooting sessions the bow will become more comfortable.
Generally youths shooting recreational equipment will use 20# equipment and up. Boys and Girls alike will develop their pulling strength very quickly and keep in mind that a recurve bows pull weight is measured at a pulling distance of 28". Most youth at the ages of 8 to 12 years old have a pulling distance much shorter than 28" therefore the actual bow pulling weight will be much less than the weight listed for the bow. In some cases a youth at the age of 8 would only pull a recurve bow marked at 25# about 15# to 18# . This is a great thing for youth archers because as they grow they will pull the bow back further and in effect the bow will pull harder making a recurve bow a wonderful type of bow to "grow" with a young archer.
Youths shooting a compound bow for recreation will need to pick a bow that adjusts to the ability of the youth. An 8 year old for instance would generally do fine with a compound bow that has an adjustment range between 15# and 30#. Compound bows, although fun to shoot because of their ability to relax holding weight at full draw, do not have the ability to be pulled back different distances once adjusted and therefore need to be adjusted in pull length specifically for the individual archer. This is an important fact when considering a compound bow for a youth because you must make sure the bow has some adjustment to compensate for a young archers growth. The more the compound bow adjust both in poundage and draw length the longer it will last.