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Gender and social protection

Social protection as a poverty reduction strategy has been gaining more and more attention in the last few years. The term "social protection" can be used to describe a range of public, private or informal interventions to reduce vulnerability and risk faced by poor people. Such interventions include, but are not limited to, cash transfers, social pensions, and cash- or food-for-work.

This key issues guide presents an introduction to some of the key issues surrounding gender and social protection, and considers some policy implications in providing gender-sensitive social protection interventions in developing countries.

Gender and social protection
Woman holding banknotes
P. Lissac / Panos Pictures
Produced by ODI this paper aims to guide policy makers on methods for incorporating gender issues in the development of social protection policies, strategies and programmes. This authors explore the gender dimensions of risk and vulnerability, examine the impact of existing social protection programmes and discuss how gender can better be taken into account in programme design.


Conditional cash transfers

Various types of conditional cash transfers - where a regular payment of cash is paid to families conditional on, for example, children's school attendance - are becoming increasingly popular. More...


Gender dimensions of policy

The design of social security must include the needs of women and men for support over their lives and to recognise how changing patterns of work and employment affect women's and men's access to social protection.  More...


Social security for informal workers

Women are usually over-represented in self-employment and informal employment, often with little or no access to the social security components usually associated with formal work. More...


Public works schemes

Public works typically involve manual labour such as building and maintaining roads and dams; they have typically reached men rather than women. Recent projects however, have shown that public works can involve women.  More...


Unconditional cash transfers

Increasing attention is also being paid to unconditional cash transfers as a way of addressing poverty and also women's empowerment and economic needs.   More...


This Key Issues Page has been created in collaboration with Francie Lund (WIEGO, and the School of Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal)