Does shock-sensitive social protection promote gender equality? Outcomes from the Lab Debate, European Development Days

Humanitarian emergency support takes place in response to a wide range of crises, such as armed conflicts, seasonal stress, economic crises and health epidemics. The role of social protection in responding to emergencies has grown rapidly over the past few years, but while gender issues are increasingly recognized in everyday social protection, they are largely absent during shocks or crises. Efforts to address gender disparity in shock-sensitive social protection have been missing, leaving a major gap in terms of informing programme design and implementation, with potentially negative effects on outcomes for women and girls.

This is due to several reasons, including evidence and data limitations; the perception that it is too difficult to include gender in the face of other competing emergency priorities, and limited political support or acceptability of promoting equality and women’s empowerment. Increasingly, innovative and adaptive responses to largescale emergencies, shocks and crises may, however, present an opportunity to increase gender equality – but only if the right foundations have been laid. Social protection targeting women has been relatively well received.