Bringing a gender perspective into shock-responsive social protection

Read a summary of the discussion  | (Part 1) (Part 2)
Due to the magnitude of ongoing and prolonged crises, there has been dramatic growth in the volume, cost, and length of humanitarian assistance. Crises and disasters in developing countries can have devastating effects on poor communities, particularly those living in rural areas who are typically the hardest hit by shocks and stresses. Social protection programming is emerging as an important strategy for providing immediate, effective responses to crises, while simultaneously reducing the recurrent or prolonged need for humanitarian assistance by building resilience (FAO, 2017). Increasingly, policymakers are looking to “scale up” social protection systems to respond to shocks to minimize their negative impacts.
However, despite the clear social drivers of vulnerability, gender perspectives are generally not well integrated in social protection programming for resilience or emergency response. This gap is exacerbated by a lack of gender-disaggregated data related to poverty and vulnerability in protracted crisis and the difficulty of collecting data following a disaster. Further, women’s voices, and other marginalized voices, are often excluded from the processes of planning for risk preparedness, response and recovery, limiting the range of perspectives and experiences that contribute to addressing shocks and building resilience.  
Understanding the gender dimensions of crises is critical, as women and men (and boys and girls) experience different exposure to hazards and risks, are impacted differently by crises and employ a diverse set of coping strategies due to their social roles and different capabilities. The rationale for integrating a gender perspective in social protection for increasing resilience and improving emergency response is clear from a human rights perspective and for ensuring more effective responses to shocks and more durable peace. Applying a gender lens to social protection can enhance empowerment outcomes for rural women and men with broader implications for poverty reduction and food security and nutrition. 

This webinar discussed:

i. What are the differences in the exposure and experience of crises-related risks between women and men and their gender-specific roles and strategies adopted to cope with emergency situations?

ii. What is the state of evidence on the impacts of social protection on gender dynamics and women’s and men’s socio-economic welfare in crises and disaster situations? What are the existing knowledge gaps?   

iii. What lessons can humanitarian and development actors share for ensuring gender is well integrated in shock responsive social protection programming? 

iv. How can shock-responsive social protection systems be gender-sensitive? How can they be gender transformative?



Rebecca Holmes, Senior Research Fellow, ODI

Maria Libertad Dometita, Gender Humanitarian Response Personnel, Oxfam

Julie Lawson McDowell, Social Protection, Cash and Resilience Advisor, Oxfam


Elizabeth Koechlein, Policy Officer, FAO 


This webinar was the ninth of the Gender-Sensitive Social Protection Series, which was organized by IPC-IG and FAO. Please join the Gender-Sensitive Social Protection online community if you are interested in following the most recent discussions on the topic.