Gender and Social Protection In South Asia: An Assessment of the Design of Non-Contributory Programmes

Social protection has received increased attention as a measure to reduce poverty and vulnerability and achieve social transformation, including the reduction of gender inequality. According to the Social Protection Inter-Agency Cooperation Board (SPIAC-B 2019), to contribute to gender equality, social protection systems should address life cycle risks, increase access to services and sustainable infrastructure and promote women’s and girls’ economic empowerment, voice and agency. The International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) and UNICEF’s Regional Office for South Asia have partnered to analyse the extent to which South Asia’s non-contributory social protection programmes have been designed in a gender-sensitive way. A total of 50 programmes were reviewed across the eight countries in South Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. In addition, the study aims to review the evidence regarding the programmes’ impact on gender outcomes.