In situations of social and economic instability, social protections provide a crucial safety net for those most affected. But before the pandemic, only 26.5% of the world’s women enjoyed comprehensive social protection by law (as compared to 34.3% of men). This has left women with little to fall back on in the face of illness, job loss, and increased care and domestic burdens.
What can governments do?
- Expand and invest in universal gender-responsive social protection, including income support, as well as contributory and non-contributory social protection systems to increase women’s resilience to future shocks.
- Expand and invest in quality public services, including food and housing security programmes.
- Support a robust care economy by providing universal healthcare and expanded affordable care services for children and older persons.
- Strengthen social protection systems to cover all workers in formal and informal employment. Such protections should include paid sick and maternity leave, pensions and unemployment compensation.
- Avoid austerity cuts (such as to welfare programs) that disproportionately target women and marginalized groups.
What is UN Women doing?
- Providing key data and policy recommendations to help governments address gender disparities in national pandemic relief and social protection schemes.
- Mobilizing essential supplies to bridge gaps in emergency relief services, including:
- Funding and implementing a comprehensive relief package to support women and excluded groups in Nepal;
- Providing emergency relief to vulnerable groups in Bolivia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, North Macedonia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo;
- Providing economic relief (see Employment & Poverty) and support for care workers (see Care Work).
- In partnership with ILO, administering the Safe and Fair programme, which aims to strengthen labour migration governance and protect the rights of women migrant workers in the Asia-Pacific region.