Gender Equality and Extension of Social Protection

Gender is rarely used as a differentiating lens by which to understand more fully the various experiences and ramifications of the social protection agenda. This project took as its starting point the overwhelming evidence that women occupy a disadvantaged status in relation to work opportunities when compared to men from equivalent social groups, and that they are also far more likely to be excluded from the sphere of social protection strategies.

IDS was commissioned to study the nature and causes of women’s exclusion from social protections coverage. Our study focused on poor and vulnerable groups in developing countries and compare with northern countries. It addressed conceptual issues surrounding women’s exclusion, the various measures of social protection currently in place and explanations of successes.

The study fed into International Labour Organisation strategy to strengthen and extend social protection. A variety of successful social protection programmes and experiences were evaluated with the aim of recommending ways to extend social protection, in particular to women of working age.


Sabates-Wheeler, Rachel and Kabeer, Naila (2003), ‘Gender Equality and the Extension of Social Protection‘, Extention of Social Security Paper 16, Geneva: International Labour Organisation, Social Security Policy and Development Branch

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Project details

start date
7 January 2010
end date
20 December 2001