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 Instruments

Ley 82, por la cual se expiden normas para apoyar de manera especial a la mujer cabeza de familia.

Es mujer cabeza de familia, quien siendo soltera o casada, ejerce la jefatura femenina de hogar y tiene bajo su cargo, afectiva, económica o socialmente, en forma permanente, hijos menores propios u otras personas incapaces o incapacitadas para trabajar, ya sea por ausencia permanente o incapacidad física, sensorial, síquica o moral del cónyuge o compañero […]

Ley 20.255

Para las mujeres la reforma significa un avance respecto de las injusticias establecidas por el sistema anterior. La creación del bono por hijo, la separación por género del seguro de invalidez y sobrevivencia y la división del saldo acumulado en la cuenta individual en caso de divorcio o nulidad incrementan la cobertura previsional y a […]

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 […]


Activist to Entrepreneur: The role of social enterprise in supporting women’s empowerment in the US

This report examines the role that social enterprise is playing in addressing gender inequality and women’s empowerment in the US, where women earn 65 cents for every dollar earned by a man and are chronically under-represented in positions of leadership. It is one of a series of reports on social enterprise and women’s empowerment which […]

Women’s ILO: Transnational networks, global labour standards and gender equity, 1919 to Present

This edited volume asks: what was the role of women’s networks in shaping ILO policies and what were the gendered meanings of international labour law in a world of uneven and unequal development? Women’s ILO explores issues like equal remuneration, home-based labour and social welfare internationally and in places such as Argentina, Italy and Ghana. […]

An International Labour Organization Instrument on Violence against Women and Men at Work: the Australian influence

Violence in and out of work, both domestic violence and sexual harassment, are violations of human rights and impact heavily in the workplace. All forms of violence result in a high cost for workers, employers and society in general, in lost time, injuries, complaints, staff turnover, loss of skills, and reputational risk. The International Labour […]

Cash Transfer Programmes, Poverty Reduction and Women’s Economic Empowerment: Experience from Mexico

This working paper on cash transfer in Mexico reviews over 150 publications on cash transfer programmes in the country since the end of the 1990s and presents the impact of these on health, education, income, poverty, labour force participation, time use and bargaining power of women at the household and community level. Moreover, the study […]

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. […]

Social Protection and Human Rights