By Olivier De Schutter, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights
Progress on poverty eradication is fading fast. We’re halfway to 2030, the deadline for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and the number of people living in extreme poverty is higher than it was four years ago.
Continue reading “Social protection is key to ending poverty. So why is it so neglected in ODA?”
By Alexandre Kolev, Head of the Social Cohesion Unit, OECD Development Centre
This blog is part of a special series marking the intersection between
the 2019 Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI)/
the 2019 SIGI Global Report and work on Social Protection
The author reflects on points raised in Development Matters blogs on the same topic by Shahra Razavi, Gaelle Ferrant and Caroline Tassot, and Liévin Feliho
Many very relevant things have been said about the adverse impact of gender-blind social protection systems on gender equality. Yet, at a time when many countries are embracing universal social protection, more clarity is needed on who amongst potential beneficiaries are most at risk of falling into the gender inequality trap. In the absence of gender-sensitive social protection reforms, my take is that the risk may fall disproportionately on those who may not be eligible for social assistance and who rely exclusively on social insurance systems. Indeed, gender-blind social insurance creates enormous space for perpetuating gender inequality.
Understanding why begins with recalling that social protection typically encompasses both social insurance and social assistance.
On the one hand, social assistance programmes are not conditional on previous payments of contributions. They are usually financed through general taxation and external resources. In developing countries, social assistance schemes have witnessed the most rapid growth amongst social protection programmes. By and large, social assistance, including cash transfers and benefits related to maternity and children, and social pensions have been instrumental in addressing gender-specific constraints in the labour market and society in general, increasing women’s income security and labour force participation. Yet, some specific forms of social assistance schemes are not free from criticism. Shahra Razavi rightly blames the paternalistic conditionalities often attached to cash transfer schemes for not acknowledging women as workers but instead reinforcing their traditional role as caregivers. Conditional cash transfers can also increase the opportunity costs for women to participate in the labour market by exposing them to greater insecurity if they have to travel long distances to reach collection points or health facilities. Still, I think it is fair to say that gains for women from expanding social assistance outweigh the costs. Continue reading “What will it take for universal social protection to avoid the gender inequality trap?”
By Christina Dankmeyer, Social Protection Advisor, GIZ
Check out the international conference
Together to achieve Universal Social Protection by 2030
for more on this topic
Social protection has been long overlooked. Yet, since 1948, everyone has the right to a “standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to social security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.” ‘In the event of’ implies that we do not notice it when we do not need it.
Only since the 1990s, growing evidence from more and more programmes worldwide has helped complete the picture on the benefits of social protection. In Africa, for example, investing USD 1 in social protection has been found to generate between USD 1.84 and USD 2.5 in economic activity (Taylor, 2013). In Europe, social protection programmes help reduce inequality by one-third (ILO, 2011). Continue reading “Universal Social Protection – What it means and why it concerns all of us”