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Have social protection responses to Covid-19 undermined or supported gender equality? Emerging lessons from a gender perspective

Working paper

Written by Rebecca Holmes, Abigail Hunt

Image credit:International Monetary Fund / Flickr Image license:CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

This paper is part of a series: ‘Social protection response to Covid-19 and beyond: lessons learned for adaptive social protection’.

The impacts of the Covid-19 crisis have exacerbated gender inequalities. The rapid onset of the crisis in early 2020 severely disrupted livelihoods, and these impacts were strongly mediated by existing gender inequalities in the labour market, gendered roles and responsibilities around care work, and also household composition, with women shouldering disproportionate burden of the crisis.

This paper examines the extent to which social protection responses to the crisis have recognised and addressed the gendered impacts of the crisis. Drawing on case studies from South Africa and Kerala, India, the paper looks at the design and implementation features of the social protection response from a gender perspective, and offers policy recommendations for strengthening gender in social protection and crisis response in the future.

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About the series

This research project examines social protection measures adopted since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis, with the aims of promoting policy learning and helping ensure countries are better equipped with inclusive, adaptive and sustainable social protection systems moving forward. Read the additional papers in the series here.