Social Protection and Violence against Women and Girls in the Indo Pacific region: Responding to COVID-19


This webinar explored the potential role of social protection to respond to the ‘shadow pandemic’ of violence against women and girls (VAWG) during COVID-19 in the Indo-Pacific. It specifically looked at intimate partner violence (IPV), and cash transfers, the most common social protection, and focus of research to date. The webinar presented emerging evidence, practitioner perspectives, as well as examples of emerging practical innovations from programing, within the context of social protection approaches and experiences to address IPV. It sought to pinpoint key opportunities and actionable recommendations for actors working on social protection responses to COVID-19 in the Indo-Pacific region and at the intersection of long-term and emergency (humanitarian) situations.

The webinar addressed the following questions:

1. What is the current evidence base/research on the role of cash transfers in having positive impacts on violence against women and girls? What does it say about the factors and conditions that influence this positive impact and where are the gaps in knowledge? What about the potential of unintended consequences? 

2. How can social protection policies and program, contribute to addressing the shadow pandemic of violence against women and girls during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Indo-Pacific? What are the differences in application across our region, for example what are the differences in application of social protection policies and programs in MICs and LICs?

3. What are promising examples of how social protection programs (on the ground) are addressing GBV in the Indo-Pacific?  

4. How can and are cash transfers responding to the GBV impacts of the pandemic on women in crises and conflicts through humanitarian mechanisms? Are there particular challenges or opportunities that humanitarian mechanisms present to using cash transfers to respond to GBV? 



Dr Amber Peterman, Department of Public Policy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Social Policy Consultant 

Melissa Alvarado, Ending Violence against Women (EVAW) Regional Programme Manager at UN Women, Asia-Pacific Regional Office

Nalini Singh, Executive Director, Fiji Women’s Rights Movement

Lara Quarterman, Independent Consultant (Social Protection and VAWG)


Julie-Ann Guivarra, Ambassador for Gender Equality, Department of Foreign Affairs of Australia 

Sarah Goulding, Assistant Secretary, Education, Social Protection and Human Development Finance Branch, Department of Foreign Affairs of Australia



Social Protection Factsheets - Fiji Womens' Rights Movement

FACTSHEET: SOCIAL PROTECTIONS DURING COVID-19 - International Women's Development Agency (IWDA)

A Mixed-Method Review of Cash Transfers and Intimate Partner Violence in Low- and Middle-Income Countries - The World Bank Research Observer (2018)

Understanding the linkages between social safety nets and childhood violence: a review of the evidence from low- and middle-income countries - UNICEF Office of Research (2017)

Evidence Brief: Cash Transfers and Intimate Partner Violence: Findings from a Review of Quantitative and Qualitative Studies in Low- and Middle-Income Countries - The Prevention Collaborative (2019) 

How to promote gender equality in humanitarian cash and voucher assistance (Guidance Note) - UN WOMEN (2019)


This was the twenty-seventh webinar of the “Social protection responses to COVID-19” webinar series. The series is a joint effort initiated by the IPC-IGGIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the Australia Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) collaboration with the platform, and in cooperation with partners from different organisations. Join the online community ''Social protection responses to COVID-19 [Task force]'' to learn more about the initiative and future webinars.

The SPIAC-B Gender Working Group, consisting of representatives from several agencies, including UNICEF, DFID, FAO, IPC-IG, UNICEF Innocenti, UN Women among others, is organising webinars of the larger Social Protection responses to COVID-19 webinar series. You can join the Gender-Responsive Social Protection Online Community if you are interested in learning about the gender impacts of COVID-19.