Gender and social protection

Promoting gender equality in social protection contributes to inclusive growth and development.

Gender is the social and cultural expression of biological sex. In all countries of the world, being born male or female shapes strikingly different destinies. Gender roles, reflecting both physical differences and complementary functions in family and community, vary widely between cultures and between epochs. However, in practically all cases, these contrasting roles give more power and freedom to males than to females.

Social protection is a human right which many women around the world are still denied. Throughout their life cycles – due to their reproductive roles and to social and cultural norms and inequalities – women go through stages of particular vulnerability. Compared to men, they are more likely to lose their income and to fall into poverty. Social protection can be a powerful tool to reduce poverty and the gender inequality with which girls and women are confronted at all ages, reducing their dependence on husbands’ cooperation to access social services such as health and old-age benefits.

Equal rights, equal duties, equal opportunities and equal power for women and men are basic principles of German development policy. Promoting gender equality is therefore a cross-cutting task for all areas of German development cooperation.

The articles and studies on this page present how German-supported projects around the world have been promoting gender equality in social protection.

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