Gender and social protection in South Asia: an assessment of non-contributory programmes (one pager)

Social protection has received increased attention as a measure to reduce poverty and vulnerability and achieve social transformation, including the reduction of gender inequality. Although South Asia has made remarkable progress in terms of human development in recent years, the region still faces significant gender disparities. Discriminatory social norms and structural factors lead to the neglect of girls’ and women’s rights in all areas of life. As a result, girls and women continue to face serious challenges in terms of health, nutrition, education and employment. Social protection systems that respond to these risks are, therefore, of utmost importance in the region. Against this background, 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 (Tebaldi and Bilo 2019). 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.