Women’s empowerment


Social protection policies play important roles in giving women access to labour markets, addressing economic risks faced by working families and helping poor households meet their basic needs.

Photo credit: “Visit to Western Kenya discussing changes in the climate and weather with men and women farmers” by Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCBY 2.0 via Flickr)


Expert Commentaries

Do Social Protection Programmes That Impose Conditionalities on Women Fail to Confront Patriarchy as a Root Cause of Inequality?

The good and the bad: summarizing the evidence on social protection and gender equality Social protection programmes with conditionalities have undoubtedly connected with issues of women’s rights to equality. Indeed, the achievements of conditional cash transfers are proven and tangible, especially for women and girls, who are disproportionately at risk of poverty. These programmes typically […]

Conditionalities, Cash and Gender Relations

Is the empowerment of women through conditional cash transfers illusory as women are ‘empowered’ by these programmes only as the nodal points receiving cash for the family and not as independent persons with their own economic, social and cultural rights? First, it is important to distinguish between the positive effects of conditional cash transfers and […]

Legal Cases

Women’s sexual and reproductive rights in the Philippines

Summary In 1991, the Philippines delegated responsibility for “people’s health and safety” to the local level. In exercise of this power, an executive order 003 (“EO 003”) was issued in Manila, in 2000 which declared that the city would take an “affirmative stand on pro-life issues”. In response to a joint submission from NGOs in […]


Social Protection: towards gender equality

Social protection has become prominent in the global development agenda over recent decades, with social protection systems now being included as a target under Sustainable Development Goal 1: “End poverty in all its forms everywhere”. In developing countries, these policies have played an important role in alleviating extreme poverty, among other impacts that are increasingly […]

Women at Work: Trends 2016

This report provides the latest ILO data on women’s position in labour markets, examines the factors behind these trends and explores the policy drivers for transformative change. The report provides a picture of where women stand today in the world of work and how they have progressed over the past 20 years. It examines the […]

Activist Perspective: Linking Social Protection and Human Rights

How does a rights-based approach support civil society organizations in their advocacy for universal access to social protection? In this video, Priti Darooka, founder and executive director of the Programme on Women’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (India) talks about the role of human rights frameworks in supporting the organization’s approach to achieving social protection […]

Delivering Development Justice? Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The “supremely ambitious and transformative vision” embodied in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes a goal to achieve gender equality for all women and girls and a re-commitment to governments’ human rights obligations. At the same time, governments have agreed to a range of strategies for financing the Agenda that arguably undermine their ability […]

Cash Transfer Programmes, Poverty Reduction and Empowerment of Women in South Africa (GED Working Paper no. 4/2015)

This working paper is one of the five country studies on cash transfer programmes and women’s empowerment. The review of the South African experience in this study is complemented by country studies on Brazil, Chile, India and Mexico. Its results have also informed a comparative study, authored by Elaine Fultz and John Francis, and published […]

UN Women Policy Brief Series

The UN Women policy brief series synthesizes research findings, analysis and policy recommendations on key policy areas around gender equality and women’s rights in an accessible format. The series aims to bridge the research and policy divide by identifying issues that require urgent policy attention and propose a set of suitable measures to address them. […]

Cash transfer programmes, poverty reduction and empowerment of women in South Africa

Cash transfer programmes have been implemented in many countries as a key component of their national social protection floors and because these programmes provide a modest but regular income to poor households, they have the potential to reduce poverty and to enhance women’s economic empowerment. However, there have been concerns that the design of some […]

Social Protection Brief: Violence against Women and Girls

The definition of social protection programmes varies widely, as do the types of interventions included and the specific outcomes sought. These programmes can be implemented through public and/or private sectors, with the involvement of single or multiple government sectors, or by some combination of these actors. This brief will specifically focus on four types of […]

Women Workers and the Politics of Claims-Making in a Globalizing Economy

The paper analyses the evolving politics of claims-making by women workers in the Global South in the context of a globalized economy. It addresses the following questions. What kinds of claims are prioritized in relation to women workers? Who is making these claims? To whom are they addressed? What strategies are pursued to advance these […]

Progress of the World’s Women: Transforming Economies, Realizing Rights

Twenty years after the landmark Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, and at a time when the global community is defining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the post-2015 era, the international consensus on the need to achieve gender equality seems stronger than ever before. Empowering women and girls is among the goals aspired […]