Social protection to promote gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment

A joint statement to the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women

SPIAC-B members support national governments to address vulnerabilities to poverty, inequality and deprivation over the course of people’s lifetimes, through more coordinated assistance for the development of adequate, sustainable and rights-based social protection systems. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development sets a clear vision for action to expand coverage of nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors. There has been progress in extending social protection systems to date, however, significant gaps remain. The majority of the world’s population are unprotected by any form of social protection, and women are over-represented in this group.

Equitable access to gender-responsive social protection has a significant impact on women’s and girls’ empowerment and opportunities, with wider positive effects for men and boys, their families and communities. Social protection systems that do not address gender inequalities risk exacerbating the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination women and girls face. We urgently need to increase our efforts to ensure social protection explicitly promotes gender equality. Failure to do so will hamper progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals – missing this vital opportunity to improve women’s and girls’ lives.