Women–state relations: The gendered politics of social protection provisioning in Zambia

Despite clear gendered differences in rights and responsibilities, these variations within citizen-state relations areoften overlooked. Drawing on Ranjita Mohanty's concept of women–state relations and Nancy Fraser's trivalent theory of social justice, this paper asks how access to social assistance is shaped by gender. Analysing the processes of policy design and implementation of Zambia's social cash transfer scheme, the paper examines perceptions of roles and responsibilities in the private domain and claims to state assistance in the public sphere. Based on 77 key informant interviews with institutional stakeholders, and 16 focus group discussions with cash transfer (non-)beneficiaries, there search finds a predominant belief that ‘able-bodied’ men and women should be working but dramatically different expectations of women and men in the household. The paper argues that social policies can be rights-determining rather than rights-based, demonstrated by the changes to Zambia's targeting model based on perceived responsibilities, with material consequences for citizens and particularly women.