Fighting inequality from the basics: The social protection floor and gender equality

Organization(s): ILO
Author: UN Women, UNDP
Regions: Americas
Country: Dominican Republic
Year: 2012
Language: Spanish
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The focus of this report is the indispensability of the human right to social security in contributing to integration and conquering inequalities, which must be tackled across the board from a platform of national protection.

The report offers a framework and a set of methodological tools for analyzing the social protection floor in Central America and the Dominican Republic with a gender perspective, focusing primarily on the basic guarantees of social security, but with a holistic approach of the social protection floor, as has been conceptualized by the United Nations System. This implies the integration of maternal and child health, basic economic protection for women during pregnancy, delivery and postpartum, and the care of minors and dependents, as key elements of social security.

Also presented are a series of strategies to build and reinforce national social protection floors, analyzing the current context in relation to opportunities and challenges to expand and transform existing policies, and to develop methodological and technical initiatives in order to consolidate these strategies at a national level. This begins with an assessment of the situation, taking into account the current plans and their fiscal capacity, so as to identify gaps in protection, evaluate the cost and sustainability of available options, and lastly, create specific measures that constitute the national social protection floor.

The focus of this report is the indispensability of the human right to social security in contributing to integration and conquering inequalities, which must be tackled across the board from a platform of national protection.

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Related Key Issues

Topical issues

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Governance, accountability and democracy

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Disadvantaged and vulnerable groups

Social protection systems using a rights-based framework should mainstream inclusion in their design, implementation and evaluation to ensure that they are accessible by all those who suffer from structural discrimination (such as women, children, older persons, persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples and people living with HIV/AIDS), and do not stigmatize beneficiaries. Due to […]


Social protection systems have the potential to transform social and economic gender dynamics. However, to achieve this end, they must be designed taking into account the different types of risks and vulnerabilities to poverty experienced by men and women; the underlying causes of discrimination against and exclusion of women; and explicitly integrate women’s specific needs […]


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Administration and delivery of benefits and services

The efficient governance and administration of social protection schemes is one of the preconditions for the effective realization of human rights. In order to realize their rights, people need to be well informed about the availability of social protection benefits and of qualifying conditions, under which they can access the benefits in case of need. […]

Relationship with other human rights

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Universality of protection and effective access

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Social protection systems

One of the major challenges in social protection is integrating diverse initiatives into genuine systems with the capacity to coordinate programmes with the State institutions responsible for their design, financing, implementation, regulation, monitoring and evaluation, with the aim of raising the population’s living standards. To adequately supply benefits, social protection policies and programmes need to […]

Related Principles

Adequacy of Benefits

From a rights-based perspective, the level of benefits provided must be adequate. According to the CESCR’s General Comment 19 (para 22), “Benefits, whether in cash or in kind, must be adequate in amount and duration in order that everyone may realize his or her rights to family protection and assistance, an adequate standard of living […]

Standards of Accessibility, Adaptability and Acceptability

The principle of equality and non-discrimination requires States to ensure that social protection programmes meet the standards of accessibility, adaptability, acceptability and adequacy for all rights holders. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) has recommended these standards through several General Comments including 13, 14 and 19. Accessibility means making the social protection […]

Adequate legal and institutional framework and long-term social protection strategies

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Comprehensive, Coherent and Coordinated Policies

The interdependence, indivisibility and mutually reinforcing nature of human rights necessitates a holistic approach to social protection. As such, under international human rights law, social protection programmes should be one element within a broader strategy aimed at overcoming poverty and realizing all human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights such as the rights to […]

Access to Accountability Mechanisms and Effective Remedies

A human rights-based approach to social protection requires that policy makers, programme administrators and others whose actions have an impact on a programme should be held accountable for their actions. To meet this human rights requirement, social protection programmes should have mechanisms to collect and process complaints, in particular to review eligibility for the programme, […]

Equality and Non-discrimination

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Universality of Protection

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Ensure Meaningful and Effective Participation

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Ensure Transparency and Access to Information

Element (5) of the Framework for Human Rights-Based Design, Implementation and Evaluation of Social Protection Programmes

Social Protection and Human Rights