Realising rights: how can social protection advance gender equality?


Gender equality is at the forefront of the global development agenda. It is included as a standalone target (SDG 5) in the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as contributing to other Goals. At the same time, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development emphasises the central role social protection plays in addressing poverty and inequality, including by recognising and valuing unpaid care and domestic work in the pursuit of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. If appropriately designed and implemented, social protection policies and systems play a critical role in transforming women’s and girls’ lives by addressing lifecycle risks and transitions, increasing access to services and infrastructure and promoting women’s and girls’ voice and agency.

Ahead of the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63) with its priority theme on “social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls”, and in light of the UN Secretary General’s report on the topic, this webinar explored the links between social protection and the realisation of women's rights and gender equality. The webinar is one in a series of ODI and Department for International Development (DFID) webinars on this theme.

This webinar, organised by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), and co-hosted with the Gender & Development Network (GADN), has brought together practitioners and experts across the field of social protection and gender to explore the following key questions: 

• How can social protection advance gender equality?

• What are the lessons learned on what works in social protection policy and systems in reducing gender inequality? Which policy features may inadvertently contribute to reinforcing the problem? 

• What are the key challenges to implementing gender-responsive social protection policies and how can this agenda be accelerated moving forward?


Bijal Bhatt, Director of the Mahila Housing SEWA Trust, SEWA

Shahra Razavi, Chief of Research and Data Section, UN Women

Francesca Bastagli, Head of Social Protection and Social Policy Programme, ODI 


Francesca Rhodes, GADN Advisory Group member and Gender Policy Adviser, OXFAM


This webinar was the first of the Social Protection and Gender Equality Series, which was organized by ODI and DFID.