Gender equality and the extension of social protection

Gender equality and the extension of social protection

Women more likely to be excluded from social protection strategies

This paper examines the composition of the labour market and gender specific vulnerabilities in relation to social protection. It argues that as women occupy a disadvantaged status in relation to work opportunities compared to men from equivalent social groups, they are also far more likely to be excluded from social protection strategies. The paper goes on to look at a variety of successful social protection programmes and experiences with the aim of recommending ways to extend social protection, in particular to women of working age.

It is thought that female exclusion from social protection strategies is due to three main factors: an increasing casualisation and feminisation of the labour force; life cycle events; and gender-neutral effects that are likely to more severely impact women.

Based on commonalities that are identified across successful social protection programmes, it is recommended that future efforts to extend social protection initiatives should take the following factors into account:

  • the ability to target vulnerable groups
  • flexible and adaptable management and administration structures
  • participatory involvement
  • interwoven financial contributions
  • an empowerment ideology that comprises promotive measures for social protection.
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