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Towards Gender Equality: A critical assessment of evidence on social safety nets in Africa


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Authors: Amber Peterman - Neha Kumar - Audrey Pereira - Daniel O. Gilligan
presented by: Neha Kumar

Published in: Economy & Finance
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Towards Gender Equality: A critical assessment of evidence on social safety nets in Africa

  1. 1. TOWARDS GENDER EQUALITY: A critical assessment of evidence on social safety nets in Africa Presented by: Neha Kumar, Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI Authors: Amber Peterman, Neha Kumar, Audrey Pereira & Daniel O. Gilligan
  2. 2. SOCIAL SAFETY NETS & GENDER: THE LINKAGES • Social safety nets have rapidly expanded in Africa as a core strategy for addressing poverty and vulnerability • Poverty, vulnerability and well-being have inherent gender dimensions, thus gender considerations have historically motivated and driven certain design features of SSNs. • These have mostly been instrumental (motivated by functional and operational features) • But more recently, intrinsic value of improving women’s wellbeing and gender equality is starting to gain traction.
  3. 3. SOCIAL SAFETY NETS EXPANDING IN SSA • Average country has 15 SSNs • 10% of the population covered Source: Beegle K, Coudouel, A & E Monsalve (Eds) (2018). Realizing the Full Potential of Social Safety Nets in Africa. World Bank.
  4. 4. “Comprehensive social protection systems need to be gender-responsive to a) ensure they do not further exacerbate gender inequality and that they b) promote gender equality.” ~Africa Ministerial Pre-Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 2019
  5. 5. THE EVIDENCE? • Until recently, few evaluations of SSNs in Africa examined implications for gender equality and woman's empowerment • However, recent reviews broadly agree that SSNs have the potential to facilitate gender equality and women’s empowerment, but that these impacts are not automatic and depend critically on program design and context • The evidence identifying design features and the impact pathways is also extremely thin
  6. 6. 01. Are social safety nets increasing women’s wellbeing along key domains in Africa? 02. If so (if not), do we know what design features matter? 03. What evidence commitments are needed to meet aspirational goals? KEY QUESTIONS Beneficiary in Zambia’s Cash Transfer Scheme
  7. 7. • Strategy: Review of reviews, key websites, backward & forward citations, google scholar searches, emails to experts • Inclusion criteria: Published & grey, Africa, 2000 onwards, experimental & quasi-experimental • SSNs: Economic transfers (cash, in-kind, vouchers, conditional, unconditional etc.), public works (cash for work), school feeding Outcomes (women aged 18+ years): 1. Food security 2. Economic outcomes 3. Empowerment 4. Psychological wellbeing 5. Gender-based violence 35 studies on 25 SSNs across 17 countries in Africa REVIEW METHODOLOGY
  8. 8. WHAT DO WE FIND . . . ? Women wait at a pay point in Ghana’s LEAP 1000 cash transfer program
  9. 9. Domain Studies/ Countries / Indicators Evidence Food security (dietary diversity, nutrition and food security) • 5 studies • 5 countries • 40 indicators • 2 studies (40%) show positive impacts • No mixed or negative impacts • Very few studies report food security disaggregated at the individual level Economic (LFP, savings, expenditure, assets, credit, etc) • 14 studies • 11 countries • 141 indicators • 7 studies (50%) show positive impacts • 3 studies (21%) show mixed or negative impacts • Overrepresented by evidence on LFP Empowerment (decision making, self-efficacy, agency) • 16 studies • 11 countries • 159 indicators • 5 studies (31%) show positive impacts • 2 studies (13%) show negative impacts • Dominated by results on decision making Psychological wellbeing (QoL, stress, mental health) • 9 studies • 6 countries • 45 indicators • 5 studies (56%) show positive impacts • 1 study shows a negative impact • Not an often-stated objective, but results indicate potential Gender-based violence (controlling behaviors, emotional, physical, sexual) • 5 studies • 5 countries • 28 indicators • 4 studies (80%) show positive impacts • No mixed or negative impacts • Overrepresented by IPV
  10. 10. KEY REFLECTIONS ON RESULTS • We find little evidence of positive impact on women’s food security and nutrition outcomes, despite large evidence on positive impacts on these outcomes at household and child level • Labor force participation is reported by large # of studies though it performs worse than other economic indicators such as savings or expenditures – indicative of potential supply-side as well as gender norm barriers around working. • Women’s empowerment reported by large # of studies but shows the weakest impact—measures dominated by decision-making power. • Psychological wellbeing, while not an often-stated objective for SSNs, the strong positive impacts indicate the potential for linking the two. • Most promising (and no negative) effects observed for gender-based violence.
  11. 11. GAPS IDENTIFIED • Of 35 studies, only 6 able to unpack design features • Gender of recipient, conditionalities, payment size/frequency/modality, complementary programming • Better methodologies are needed for gender analysis • Disaggregate common indicators at the individual level • Better measures of concepts such as women’s empowerment • More gender analysis when the data are available (women vs men) • Region-specific evidence and synthesis is key to ensure global evidence does not obscure regional findings • For example: Nature of poverty, gender norms and SSN design are vastly different between Latin America and Africa
  12. 12. GAPS IDENTIFIED (CONT) • Cost-effectiveness and value for money analysis is important for sustainability of SSNs • Important to understand the cost implications for making tradeoffs between design and/or operational features, particularly with respect to gender considerations. • Incorporating a gender lens as we design SSNs for the future • How can SSNs in fragile settings be gender sensitive? • What are the gender implications of technological innovations – mobile money, financial inclusion? • SSNs to address migration, urbanization etc – all have gender implications that need attention
  13. 13. CONCLUSIONS • SSNs in Africa are improving women’s wellbeing—some domains more promising than others—evidence strongly cash transfer dominant • From existing quantitative evaluations, we have little understanding of what design features matter • Large gaps in understanding simple dynamics, including coverage (by sex), in addition gaps in measurement of key outcomes and true gender analysis – we must be intentional to close these gaps!
  14. 14. • We thank the Agnes Quisumbing, Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Jemimah Njuki and Emily Myers for helpful feedback on an earlier outline of this chapter draft. This work was undertaken as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM) led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Funding support for this study was provided by the CGIAR Research Program PIM. • Evidence gaps presented here were identified as part of a Think Piece written by the same authors titled “Towards gender equality in social protection: evidence gaps and priority research questions”, prepared for UNICEF Office of Research, Innocenti • Photo credits • Slide 5: ©FAO/Ivan Grifi/16303355554_5d3020007e_o • Slide 6: © FAO/IvanGrifi/19431617964_bf1542f18a • Slide 8: © FAO/IvanGrifi/19431674444_a702f46a21 • Slide 12: © FAO/Eduardo Soteras Jalil/47953733327_95a399e1b9_o Acknowledgements