Costing of a package of family-friendly transfers and services to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment: An introduction to the calculations and results

This paper presents a costing analysis for a set of family-friendly services and transfers: income protection for children, people of working age, and older persons; universal health coverage; and early childhood care and education and long-term care services. The social protection and care policies that are included in the costing have enormous significance for families and broader society, and their implementation would have particularly important impacts for women, since they are over-represented among those without income security, they face specific life course contingencies, and they take on a highly disproportionate share of unpaid care work.

Previous work studied different components of this package more in depth, often also providing projections for the future. The comparative advantage of the present study is that it looks at an integrated package of family-friendly services and transfers and estimates the costs for a large sample of countries (151 to 166, depending on the scenario).

The costing shows that such a package is affordable in many countries. Depending on the scenario, median costs range between 4.6 and 10.1 per cent of GDP. Those countries that cannot finance the full package can initially afford at least some of its critical elements, such as health care or income support.

This discussion paper was commissioned as a background paper for the 2019–2020 report, “Progress of the world’s women: Families in a changing world”, and is released as part of the UN Women discussion paper series.

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Bibliographic information

Resource type(s): Discussion papers
UN Women office publishing: UN Women Headquarters
Number of pages
ii + 34