How social protection, public services and infrastructure impact women’s rights

Agenda 2030 echoes calls for the targeted use of government funds for gender equality and women’s rights made over twenty years ago in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Yet the relationship between gendered inequalities and public spending continues to receive insufficient attention and commitment from governments. Because of the discrimination that women face in social, economic and political spheres, as well as structural barriers at local, national and global levels, women—particularly those women facing intersecting discriminations—have less income and assets, do more unpaid care work and are more likely to work in the informal sector. As a result, they are both more in need of state support and less able to access it.

In this briefing the authors look at the ways that social protection, public services and infrastructure interact with women’s rights and gender equality. They conclude that governments should maximise their available resources for spending in these three areas, which can be powerful tools for gender equality and women’s rights when implemented in an integrated gender-responsive and transformative way.