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Social Protection: A Key Component for Achieving Gender Equality

Experts to Gather in Florence to Share the Latest Evidence on the Intersection of Gender, Adolescence and Social Protection

(3 May 2019) International attention towards social protection has increased enormously as governments adopt and invest in more programmes. In fact, more than 3 billion people around the world today are covered by at least one social protection benefit. Despite the pervasiveness of social protection, and its potential to provide income security and resilience against shocks, one vital component is often missing in its design and implementation—gender dynamics. This has led to gaps in our understanding on how different social protection programmes and features, contribute to foster positive gender outcomes.

Adolescent girls and boys who benefit from social protection programmes in the Mbeya region of Tanzania take part in livelihood and life skills training provided by village mentors.

As global attention turns towards social protection, there is a concurrent emphasis on adolescence as a critical opportunity to fast-track social change. Adopting a life cycle lens to social protection, with a focus on adolescents in particular, is important for multiple reasons. Firstly, adolescence is a period of rapid biological change, in which young people experience puberty, brains change rapidly, and gender differences emerge. Secondly, adolescents are a growing demographic group, with the global population of adolescents and young people expected to reach 2 billion by 2030.

Despite the importance of both gender and age in order to achieve social change, there is little evidence on how social protection systems and programmes can be more gender-responsive, as well as sensitive to different age groups’ specific risks and vulnerabilities. To identify and address these gaps in our knowledge, 35 experts from the fields of academia, practice, and programming will gather at UNICEF’s Office of Research in Florence on the 6th of May for an experts’ workshop on gender-responsive and age-sensitive social protection. The event will discuss the evidence base on gender, adolescence and social protection, and create linkages between evidence, policy and programming actors. A series of think pieces by key experts in the fields of gender and social protection, commissioned by UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, will also be presented at the workshop.

Bodoor, a 17 year old 12th grade student in Azraq Refugee Camp, with her friends at her UNICEF-supported school. She is preparing for her final exams. She and her family, including two sisters and three brothers, have lived in Azraq since it opened in 2014.

A keynote address from Charlotte Watts, the Chief Scientific Adviser at the UK’s Department for International Development, will set the tone for the workshop. Following this, discussions throughout the day will identify where the evidence base is robust and where there are evidence gaps that need investments. Panel discussions will explore:

  • How a life course lens is critical for effective and efficient social protection systems, including for adolescents;
  • How social protection programmes and strategies have – or have not – considered gender dynamics in their design and implementation;
  • Design and implementation considerations in gender-responsive social protection;
  • Social protection in the context of humanitarian, climate change, and complex crises.

This experts’ workshop is part of the DFID-funded programme on gender-responsive age-sensitive social protection. The think piece series, which discusses the intersection of these three important areas, will be published on the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti website in the coming weeks.

Check out UNICEF Innocenti’s Twitter for live updates throughout the workshop.


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Unleashing the Potential of Social Protection for Adolescent Girls and Women
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Unleashing the Potential of Social Protection for Adolescent Girls and Women

 (18 February 2019)  Over the last decade there has been increasing international attention on adolescence as a critical window of opportunity to fast-track social change, and on the potential of social protection to tackle multidimensional vulnerabilities, including gender inequalities. However, the focus on the pivotal intersection of social protection, gender and adolescence is much more recent.On the occasion of the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women the United Kingdom, UNICEF and the GAGE consortium, coordinated by ODI, will hold the side event: Gender- and Adolescent-Responsive Social Protection: Unleashing the Potential of Social Protection for Adolescent Girls and Women.Recording of the side event livestream Bringing together global thought leaders, policy and programming experts, this event will highlight the role of policy, programming and evidence generation in advancing adolescent- and gender-responsive social protection. The event will explore how social protection can not only enhance adolescent girls’ and boys’ capabilities now - and strengthen opportunities for empowerment as they transition into early adulthood - but also how well designed social protection programmes can better tackle lifecourse and inter-generational cycles of poverty and gender inequalities.The side event will be held on:Tuesday 12th March 2019, 10.00 – 11.15am Conference Room 1 (CR1) United Nations Headquarters in New York City.Opening remarks will be given by a Government Minister of the United Kingdom (to be named) and Henrietta E Fore, Executive Director, UNICEF. The session will be moderated by well-known journalist Femi Oke. Visit for more details as they become available.                                                   


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Innocenti Research Digest on Adolescence 13

The Adolescence Research Digest is a quarterly publication of UNICEF’s Office of Research-Innocenti. It synthesizes the latest research evidence, resources and news related to adolescent well-being in low- and middle-income countries. Adolescence is a critically sensitive period in terms of growth and maturity with many rapid transitions about which too little is currently known. The Digest aims to promote awareness and uptake of new adolescent well-being research findings amongst UNICEF staff, practitioners, policymakers and academics in the development and humanitarian sectors.


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(2019-03-14) On March 12th 2019, UNICEF will co-host a side event to the sixty-third Commission on the Status of Women, together with the UK’s  ...


Experts' Workshop - Gender Responsive and Age Sensitive Social Protection - Meeting Agenda - May 2019
Participants list
Experts' Workshop - Gender Responsive and Age Sensitive Social Protection - Participants Bios - May 2019