August 24

Analysis: Building Back Better Means Designing Cash Transfers for Women’s Empowerment

By Greta L. Bull, Caren Grown, Boutheina Guermazi, Michal Rutkowski & Mahesh Uttamchandani

Sri sells food in a public square of her hometown in Java. Her business was doing well, and she thought that soon she and her three children would no longer need support from Indonesia’s Family Health Program (PKH), a conditional cash transfer program targeting poor households with children and expectant mothers. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Now Sri’s PKH benefit is the mainstay of support for her family.

G2P programs must tackle inequalities women face

Millions of women like Sri have seen their livelihoods, safety, and agency threatened by COVID-19, as they face fewer employment prospects, increased care responsibilities, and higher risk of domestic violence. With many women working in the informal sector, these factors are exacerbated. Ninety-five percent of women in Asia and 89 percent of women in Sub-Saharan Africa earn income through informal labor, which is characterized by insecurity and insufficient social protection. It is often not counted by governments and aid agencies. For G2P payments to truly benefit the most vulnerable, they must tackle these inequalities in benefits that women are facing due to COVID-19. 

Photo courtesy of Baluda.

Source: World Bank Blogs (link opens in a new window)

cash transfers, digital inclusion, digital payments, gender equality, gender lens