Our series of webinars about Gender-Sensitive Social Protection started in May 2016, and were held by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in partnership with International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG), to foment the debate about gender-oriented social protection policies and research, as an effort to call attention to the importance of initiatives related to the economic empowerment of women. Finishing in March 2017, the series constituted of six webinars with panellists and contributors from around the world in a joint effort to share and spread knowledge about Gender-Sensitive social protection.

The first webinar in the series, "Gender and Social Protection: Current Issues and Policy Trends", gathered, on 3 May, researchers and policy makers from ODI (Nicolas Jonas), IFPRI (Agnes Quisumbing) and FAO (Ana Paula De la O Campos) to present a summary of recent data on gender-sensitive SP policies, as well as introducing prevailing questions and concerns intertwined with  this specific policy framework. Issues like research gaps about reaching adolescents, cash transfer recipients and international standards for measuring women’s empowerment were also presented as current challenges. The presentation of the webinar can be accessed here, and the recording here.

The second webinar presented on 23 June, called “Social protection and the empowerment of rural women in Africa” focused on the issues and policy innovations that are most important in terms of promoting gender equality. The first presentation showcased an analysis of different cash transfers programmes and their different effects based on two assumptions: first that women are the transfer recipients correlates directly with benefits to the family; and secondly that this would also bring empowerment to the women in question. Presenting data about Zambia, Liberia, Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi and Benin the researchers found that the instrumental role of women in these programmes is  highly related to their context, resulting in disparate outcomes for  the households and individual members of the family – like children and elders. The webinar had Amber Peterman (UNICEF), Markus P. Goldstein (World Bank Africa Region) and Leisa Perch (UNWomen Mozambique) as presenters and discussant. To know more, the presentation of the webinar can be accessed here, and the recording here.

Gender Sensitive Social Protection Design: What Works in Asia?” held on 6 October 2016, was the third webinar in the series. The panel consisted of representatives from BRAC (Anna Minj), ODI (Rebecca Holmes) and IDS (Deepta Chopra) who presented insights regarding social protection actions taken in Asia.  Rebecca Holmes discussed about how different designs of social protection policies can support gender equality. The panelist mentioned linkages with other services and programmes, innovative implementation mechanisms and the promotion of women in leadership roles as relevant incorporations to social protection initiatives. Another highlight of the webinar was the experience from BRACs: Targeting the Ultra Poor Programme (TUP) and how it was conceptualized, constructed and what were the specific aspects in building a gender sensitive action. Feel free to download the presentation here, and the recording here.

On 30 November, the fourth webinar on “Protección social y la inclusión financiera de las mujeres en la agricultura familiar” discussed possible contributions of gender based social protection initiatives to Latin American women, more specifically on financial inclusion. Paola Bustamante (Ministerio Desarrollo e Inclusión Social del Perú), Magdalena Mayorga (BanEcuador B.P.) and Soledad Parada (FAORLC) composed the panel. Among all of the relevant insights pointed out, we highlight Suárez’s input on Peru’s Haku Wiñay Programme in relation to entrepreneurship initiatives to showcase how Latin American cash transfer programmes are being complemented with sustainable financial inclusion of women in productive activities. The discussion progressively focused on the importance of complementary approaches of social protection – like interinstitutional social protection programmes – and financial inclusion to the sustainability of inclusive development with a gender equality framework. The presentation of the webinar can be accessed here, and the recording here.

Our fifth webinar of the series, held on 12 December , called “Gender Sensitive Social Protection in the Caribbean”, had Bénédicte de la Brière (World Bank) and Mario Esteban Sosa (Social Policies Coordination, Dominican Republic) sharing their findings regarding gender-sensitive policies. The webinar raised  debate about whether cash transfer initiatives can be gender-sensitive only targeting the women as the main recipient. De la Brière highlighted that the nature of the transfer (either conditional or unconditional) showed to be more important in terms of programme impacts than the recipient of the income in cash transfer programmes.  She also brought up the notion that while prioritizing health and education access has been significant in building a gender-oriented programme, considering time and mobility constraints as well as offering women special training to prevent harassment are also decisive in constituting a better household environment. The Dominican “Eating is First” [Comer es Primero] Program was also presented as an example of gender sensitive program for food security. Mario Esteban Sosa talked about its gender dimensions such as gendered mobility and community debt relations. The presentation of the webinar can be accessed here, and the recording here.

"From policy commitments to effective implementation of gender-sensitive social protection programmes" was our sixth webinar of the series presented on 2 March 2017. Maxine Molyneux (UCL Institute of the Americas) presented an overview of the current scenario in gender-sensitive social protection and the future issues to be enlightened in the field – such as theoretical and analytic understanding of gender in development policies. Molyneux also focused on recent developments in social accountability in Latin America. The panelist from FAO, Maja Gavrilovic, introduced FAO’s new mechanism for social protection practitioners to apply a gender sensitive foundation to cash transfers and public policies.  Pamela Pozarny pointed out the importance of the timely, regular, reliable payment that cash transfers can represent. It is  critical for women who have little access to money when choosing to get a loan because of the fear of falling into debt.  The discussant argued that cash transfers allow women to have regular income and starting investing it into new forms of income. To know more, the presentation can be accessed here, and the recording here.

Throughout the Gender-Sensitive Social Protection Webinar Series the participants had the chance to learn about worldwide social protection which aims at promoting gender equality and new issues raised in the field. The series also discussed the outcomes of different designs of gender-sensitive social protection, the importance of women’s financial inclusion in rural areas and the urgency of gender-sensitive monitoring, evaluation and research on social protection programmes. To have a better understanding of the issues debated on the series, join the community here.

This blog post is published as part of the Webinar Series, which brings together the summaries of webinars organized by socialprotection.org and partners on a variety of themes related to social protection. If you have any thoughts on the topic discussed, we would love to hear them. Please add your comments below and we will get back to you.