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Social Protection Systems not fully servicing women’s needs – SADC Women

“Some women are not benefiting from the systems in place because they are not aware of them”, Maggie Banda, Women’s Legal Resource Centre (WOLREC) Director.

Five SADC countries (Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe) did research through civil society organisations. Women make up the majority of people living in poverty. They do not access the much needed social protection facilities.  ”In Malawi men stand outside farming stores selling coupons meant to subsidize poor farming communities.”, shared a woman attending the discussion.

In Zambia’s research shows that the main reasons women fail to access social protection provisions include lack of awareness and administrative procedures that do not favor them.

The panel presenting findings from country research

Zimbabwe recognized the growth of the informal sector which is predominantly female. Access to social protection systems remains difficult, reasons including corrupt distribution and patriarchal social structures.

The discussion was held at the Arminan Church Centre and women from various countries attended. Participants commended the efforts of ensuring women’s tribulations are documented. High level meetings at the UN conference in contrast, portrayed Social Protection systems as a success in  Southern Africa.

Thousands of women from across the world are attending the annual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York this week. The two week event running from 11th to the 22nd of March 2019 brings together women from all levels of gender interventions. Activities include high level dialogues as well as numerous smaller side events held around the UN headquarters under the theme ‘Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls ‘.

The side-event was funded under Hivos’ Women Empowered for Leadership program.