Press release

Cash transfers no silver bullet in the quest for gender equality

Published on 11 March 2019

At this year’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations in New York, researchers from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) will highlight the limitations of social protection policies such as cash transfers in relation to improving the lives of women across the world.

They argue that social protection policies can only be truly effective in empowering women and girls when they go hand in hand with adequate public services such as water, sanitation and gas and access to infrastructure including roads, schools and hospitals.

For example, programmes that help women back into work are a critical part of their economic empowerment.  However, without adequate childcare facilities to take care of their children, access to transport to take them to their place of work or running water which means they don’t have to spend hours each day collecting it from the well, the benefits of such programmes remain limited.

Deepta Chopra, IDS Research Fellow and UN Women Expert Group member who authored a background paper for this year’s CSW said:

“Work with decent pay and conditions, alongside basic public services and access to critical infrastructure is essential for women in low-income countries to break free from the backbreaking drudgery of their daily lives. Achieving the UN Global Goal 5 on gender equality by 2030 depends on it.

“Viewing women’s economic empowerment as only a matter of access to employment or income benefits is failing women and their families.”

Deepta will be speaking alongside the UK Secretary of State for International Development as part of a panel discussion around gender- and adolescent-responsive social protection. She will also be speaking at an Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality side event.

Keetie Roelen, IDS Research Fellow said:

For women to thrive, programmes that encourage employment must treat them with dignity and respect, and offer direct support or linkages to appropriate services such as health, education and critically child care.  Without this support, both women and their children’s lives could be negatively impacted.

Keetie will be speaking at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Impact Initiative and IDS side event on poverty and employment.

To arrange an interview with either Deepta Chopra or Keetie Roelen please contact Vivienne Benson on +447789013453, [email protected] or Hannah Corbett on +447701 286 978, [email protected]

Further details of events, including registration, are as follows:

Key contacts

Hannah Corbett

Head of Communications and Engagement


+44 (0)1273 915640


About this press release

Programmes and centres
Centre for Social Protection

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