Making National Social Protection Floors work for women

The idea of a social protection floor (SPF) is now firmly established on the global development agenda. Defined as a set of minimum guarantees, including basic income security for children, working-age adults, older people and people with disabilities, as well as essential health care for all, SPFs hold promise for women, who are over-represented among those excluded from existing social protection schemes. To date, however, the integration of gender concerns in social protection has been uneven and ambiguous, with women’s specific risks and constraints not addressed. Drawing on cross-country evidence and experiences, this brief highlights promising ways to make SPFs work for women. Much can be done in terms of integrating gender into the design and implementation of programmes that promote income security across the life cycle, including cash transfers, public works programmes and pensions. To provide long-term solutions, however, these efforts must be part of a broader package, including policies that enable women to access decent work—which remains the main source of income for most working-age adults and their families.