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GRASSP: Advancing gender equality through social protection

29 Jun 2022
GRASSP article

Social protection can reduce income poverty and food and economic insecurity, address financial barriers to accessing social services, and promote positive development outcomes throughout the life course - particularly for women and girls. Social protection also has the potential to act as a vehicle for eradicating the harmful social norms, and power imbalances that perpetuate gender inequality. GRASSP sets out to explore the gender-transformative potential of social protection through three core research streams. 

Research Stream 1

Aims to help improve the gender responsive planning, monitoring and evaluation of social protection programmes and systems with research focusing on the conceptualisation, measurement and analysis of gender equality outcomes.

  • conceptual framework, outlining the linkages between gender inequalities, investments in social protection policies, programmes and systems, and positive gender equality outcomes across the life course.
  • An analytical approach to evidence generation on gender-responsive social protection.



  • A systematic review of reviews which contributes to a clearer picture of the differential impacts of social protection on girls, boys, women and men, in low- and middle-income countries. Find here the plain language summary and podcast of the review.
  • A review of gender equality measures (upcoming) including social and gender norms, and empowerment, assessing how gender equality is quantitatively measured in research and evaluations in low- and middle-income countries.


GRASSP literature reviews also add to the evidence base on achieving gender equality and social protection throughout the different stages of an individual's life (the life course).

  • An overview of the latest evidence on the effects of social protection on gender equality, with a focus on the design features of four types of social protection programmes.
  • A review (upcoming) of the literature on climate change, gender, and social protection.
  • A working paper (upcoming) on care, norms, and social protection.


Research Stream 2

Develops evidence on the impacts of social protection on gender equality outcomes; including how and why this is achieved.

  • A mixed methods cross-country report (forthcoming) and country case studies (forthcoming) on the gender equality outcomes of social protection programmes.
  • A report (forthcoming) investigating the effects of contextual factors and social and gender norms on gender-responsive and age-sensitive social protection programmes.
  • Cost-effectiveness analysis briefs (forthcoming) of social protection programmes in crises contexts.

Research Stream 3 

Investigates if and how gender can be institutionalized into social protection systems, and the role that factors such as political economy (e.g. institutions and interests), norms and financing, along with processes of systemic reform play, in creating social protection systems that incorporate sustainable and long-lasting change for gender equality. 

  • A report (forthcoming) on the political economy of GRASSP reform.
  • A report (forthcoming) on the implementation of GRASSP designs.
  • A report (forthcoming) on sustainability of GRASSP systems.
  • Country briefs (forthcoming) on why and how gender has been institutionalized into social protection systems.



GRASSP is generously funded with UK aid from the UK government. 



About the UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti

The Office of Research - Innocenti is UNICEF's dedicated research centre. It undertakes research on emerging or current issues to inform the strategic directions, policies and programmes of UNICEF and its partners, shape global debates on child rights and development, and inform the global research and policy agenda for all children, and particularly for the most vulnerable. Visit UNICEF Innocenti's website and follow UNICEF Innocenti on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.