Achieving social protection for all adolescents: how can a gender norms lens support more effective programming?

There is increasing evidence that social protection programmes, including cash transfers, have positive impacts on human development and well-being, including that of adolescents. However, to date adolescence (10–19 years) has been underprioritised by programme designers compared to early childhood. In particular, given the increasing salience of gender norms over the course of adolescence, too little attention has been paid to the ways in which age- and gender-related vulnerabilities intersect to limit girls’ and boys’ multidimensional capabilities. Upholding the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs) ‘leave no one behind’ framing will necessitate adopting a wider perspective on adolescents’ well-being, and ensuring that social protection programme design and implementation is informed by an understanding of specific life-cycle, gender and other intersecting vulnerabilities (e.g. disability, ethnicity, caste) as well as opportunities to fast-track social change