The Impact Initiative has closed. This website has now been archived and will no longer be updated.
The Impact Initiative has closed. This website has now been archived and will no longer be updated.

Blog: How social protection can empower women

This photo was taken by Celeste Chirinza at a PhotoVoice workshop in Mozambique as part of ODI's Transforming Cash Transfers programme.
Photo: © Celeste Chirinza 2012/ODI/PhotoVoice available on 
ODI/Flickr under CC BY-NC 2.0

May 2019

"There is an urgent need for social-protection policies and initiatives that enable women not just to survive, but to thrive. Women do not need only employment opportunities; they also need social support that accounts for the true extent of their responsibilities."

Phakama Ntshongwana, Nicola Ansell, ESRC-DFID grant holders, and Keetie Roelen argue in Project Syndicate (2 May 2019) that social protection policies need to go further if the full potential of girls and women is to be fully recognised. They propose that governments need to cultivate a nuanced understanding of the realities women across many countries face on a daily basis in juggling diverse roles and responsiblities to meet the needs of their families, and to survive. Social-protection policies and initiatives urgently need to go above and beyond solely providing money and employment opportunities for women and girls to thrive across the world.

This piece resonates with a discussion at a side-event on Does Poverty Stop at Employment? which took place at the Commission on the Status of Women's sixty-third session (CSW63) in New York in March 2019 - social protection was at the top of the agenda at CSW. The side-event was co-hosted by the Impact Initiative, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the Institute of Development Studies.  The Impact Initiative launched a collection of ESRC-DFID-funded research on women, work and social protection.

Read the opinion piece in full in Project Syndicate: How Social Protection Can Empower Women.

Read/download: ESRC-DFID research for policy and practice: women, work and social protection.


The Impact Initiative blog posts are either from individual researchers or from major research programmes. Some of the blog posts are original source and are written by researchers and experts connected to the two research programmes jointly funded by ESRC and FCDO: the Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research and the Raising Learning Outcomes in Education Systems Research Programme. Other blog posts are imported from related websites and programmes. 

The views expressed in these blogs reflect the opinions of each individual and may not represent the Institute of Development Studies, the University of Cambridge, ESRC or FCDO.


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