Social Protection Systems for Gender Equality - Webinar in preparation of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 11-22 March)


The priority theme of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is Social Protection Systems, Public Services and Sustainable Infrastructure for Gender Equality. This is based on the SDG-5 and its target 5.4.: Recognizing and valuing unpaid care and domestic work. Social protection is a powerful tool for the reduction of gender and socio-economic inequalities (SDG-10.4). For this reason, it was priority theme also at the UN Commission for Social Development (CSocD) recently. ECOSOC Commissions

Most African governments have national social protection strategies, progressively promoting ‘multi-pillar’ social protection systems – including social assistance, social insurance, access to social services and care, and livelihoods and labour market inclusion. This is work in progress, however: Thus far, in most African countries only the very richest and the very poorest people have access to some social protection: those belonging to the bottom 10-15% in income distribution may have access to poverty focused social cash transfers, and the narrow 5-15% at the top may benefit from formal employment related social insurance.

Social protection systems still typically fail to protect the large majority of women and men in the ‘missing middle’ – women are over-represented in this group. ‘SPIREWORK’, i.e. ‘Social protection for informal and rural economy workers’ is therefore a high priority of the African Union social protection strategies. UN-Women also seeks to support innovations in ‘tailoring’ social protection for African women in diverse rural and informal livelihoods.

The purpose of this webinar was to bring together various key stakeholders from Africa, UN-Women, and international development partners (SPIAC-B) to share their views on how best to promote universal access to gender-responsive social protection for all women, men and children, expanding coverage progressively, in nationally appropriate ways, in all countries and regions. 

The year 2019, with the same priority theme at both CSW and CSocD, presents an opportunity to build bridges between the global ‘gender’ and ‘social protection’ expert communities, and to help all governments partners to work towards the common goal of ‘leaving no-one behind’. 


Fatmata Sesay, Regional Policy Advisor, UN-Women ESARO

Roopa Hinton, Chair, Gender Working Group of the Social Protection Inter-Agency Cooperation Board (SPIAC-B)

Mutale Wakunuma, Consultant, Institute for Social Policy in Africa, TRANSFORM Master Trainer


Timo Voipio, Chief Expert, THL-Finland (EU-SPS)


This webinar was the second of the Social protection to promote gender equality and to reduce other socio-economic inequities webinar series, which was organized by EU-SPS.