Social security/ protection is the presence of policies set by the government and other organizations that focus on the management, prevention and overcoming situations affecting the welfare of the society. Social security policies aim at reducing vulnerability and poverty through the creation of an efficient labor market that reduce the people's exposure to risk. Additionally, the policies increase people's capacity to manage social and economic risks such as exclusion, disability and diseases among others. The provision of social security as a basic service improves the living conditions of society. This paper will analyze the effect of social security in the labor market with an emphasis being placed on the gender balance in the job sector.
Social security is a policy approach that aims to integrate social security and poverty reduction concerns. The social security agenda has focused so much on the poor, excluded and vulnerable social groups differentiated according to age, health and their relationship to the labor market (Kaber 13). As a result, women as a marginalized group have been left out of these important policies. In that accord, social security programs are gender insensitive and poorly designed to counter gender inequalities.
Some countries do not consider the important role of social security. Poor wages that cannot support the workers characterize the labor market of some countries. There are flaws in the labor market that perpetrate gender imbalances and discrimination. Consequently, the public device measures to develop their economy and improve their living standards (Kaber 16). First the paper looks at the constraints and consequences of social security policies and how these policies affect women. Section three focuses on social security in developing countries. Finally, the paper concentrates on the role of social security in the labor market.
- Gendered consequences of social security policies
- Constraints faced by women
- Gender specific constraints
They are constraints such as the societal norms and practices that apply to men and women by the virtue of their gender (Kaber 19). They are constraints that restrict participation in the household livelihood activities and the labor market. However, some of these constraints are as a result of women’s biological role in reproduction.
- Gender intensified constraints
These are inequalities between household members reflecting norms and customs on the distribution of health care and access to resources. Gender-intensified constraints reflect inequalities in opportunities and resources (Kaber 17). Customary and community standards such as inheritance, access to property and the ascribed discrimination influence these constraints. These shocks and constraints include income shocks, price shocks and shocks to labor demand.
- Gender imposed constraints
They are the restraints that result from forms of gender disadvantage reflected in the wider public domain. They consist of bias from resource allocation from those outside the household or the community thus demonstrating discrimination (Kaber 23). They are informal cultural beliefs in institutions such as stereotypical gender roles in recruitment and membership procedures that exclude women.
These constraints promote disproportional representation of girls and women among the poor. In addition to limiting women access to the labor market, the constraints confine working women into poorly remunerated, casual and insecure forms of wage and self-employment in the informal sector (Kaber 12). There is a need for gender sensitive social security program to protect women from physical insecurity, pervasive poverty and human rights violation.
- The effects the above constraints
- Gender inequality
Gender inequality is the unequal treatment or prejudice of individual based on their gender. Gender specific, imposed and intensified constraints contribute to unequal treatment of men and women. Gender roles and stereotypes in the workplace hinder women development in the job place as well as block their entrance in the labor market (Kaber 13). Traditional roles assigned to women give them limited chances of breaking into the paid labor market. Women have little or no access and control of resources, as a result, they experience economic alienation and their ability for financial liberty curtailed.
- Biased social security policies
As a result of macro and micro gender constraints, social policies exclude women. Discrimination against women by men curtails their involvement in the formulation of policies. As a result, policies formulated are biased, gender insensitive and gender exclusive (Kaber 20). These policies exclude women and, therefore, non-reflective to social equity measures, social insurance, social assistance programs and other social services policies such as pension. Women vulnerability increases when the legislation and policies do not protect them or put their interests into considerations.
- How the constraints make the female gender disproportionately among the extreme poor
The constraints hinder women’s access to better social services such as health and insurance. As a result, women become vulnerable to reproduction related conditions, legislation protecting their employment during pregnancy and lack primary health care. Women are, therefore, exposed to inappropriate conditions that impede their health development (Luttrell & Moser 34). Biased retirement benefit and pension scheme delay and confine women within the bracket of the marginalized poor. Inappropriate employment security and biased legislation of labor due to the gender insensitive social security policies restrain women into poverty.
- How the constraints limit the women in the labor market
The constraints have an advanced effect on women than the visible face value. The constraints hinder women’s access to fundamental inputs necessary for their preparation to join the work force (Drolet 40). Some of these constraints include time, access to infrastructure, limited access to education and training, family and household duties, child care and unsuitable working condition as defined by the biological makeup. Lack of access to these foundational factors affect their involvement in the labor force and hinders their participation in the waged labor.
- How women are affected by human right violations
Human rights violation affects women's social, political and economic liberation. Confinement of women in poor status blocks their prosperity ((Sweetman 170). The hardship and mental torture resulting from human rights violation causes psychological stress that affects women and their household. Females lack adequate approaches to liberate themselves from poverty due to denial of their rights.
- Ensuring Equality
Gender equality is a strategy that aims at ensuring equal treatment and perception of men and women. The approach taken involves a dual or twin-track method focusing on both genders. Gender mainstreaming is an important approach of ensuring gender equality (Camfield 143). It involves the integration of a gender perspective in every stage of policy formulation or implementation. It concerns the relationship of women and men for their benefits. The approach aims at dealing with specific gender inequalities identified through gender analysis and mainstreaming.
- The Impact of Social Protection on girl’s roles and responsibility (Camfield 2014)
Social security has complex effects on girls. Households’ participation in social security benefits girls in their education and later lives. They have improved access to the basic factors that prepare their absorption in the paid labor force (Camfield 124). Additionally, the have better access to education and resources that increase their chances for economic prosperity and liberation.
- Social security in developing countries
- The feasibility of developing schemes in developing countries
The feasibility of the social security development is high in the developing countries. It results from the recognition of the importance of the social protecting in the society. As a result, many countries in the least developed regions are embracing this approach to solve their social issues such as gender inequality (Camfield 139). For example, in Africa, there is the African Union’s Social Policy framework that entails social security and recommendation on how to strengthen national and regional policies.
- Constraints in developing this schemes
Developing countries face three major impediments in the implementation of the social security scheme (Camfield 114). These constraints are financial resources, policy design and implementation details as well as political and economic factors.
- The benefits that would accrue it they adapt the plan to the society (Adesina 456)
- Improved lifestyle
The plan would increase the number of household members making a living. As a result, the household income would increase as the national economy grows (Adesina 458). In the long-run, the living standards will increase.
Participation of women in the labor force, access to education, health care and resources creates a stable and equal society without discrimination.
- Reduced vulnerability
Equality in the community empowers the marginalized groups such as women (Adesina 457). Their empowerment means an increment in their vulnerability level.
- Reduced poverty
Women access to employment, education and resources stimulates economic growth of an individual and the state. As a result, the level of poverty reduces.
- Social insurance
Women and the poor have little or no access to insurance services. However, through social protection, women can access community based insurance in health.
- The benefits that would accrue if they adopt the plan to the state (Adesina 472)
- Growth of the economy
The scheme increases the number of people in the working and taxable category. As a result, the government revenue increases (Adesina 463). Household income increases are making the household access more goods and services. Likewise, the government can provide better services resulting to economic growth.
- Efficient labor market
An increased in the number of workers makes the production of goods efficient. In that accord, the labor market becomes more efficient and productive.
- Provision for social support
When the state is economically empowered, it can provide social services and social support to the poor and vulnerable people (Adesina 457). The inclusion of women increases the state revenue providing sufficient funds for social assistance programs.
- The role of Social security in labor market
- How labor market interventions are essential in promoting employment of people of all genders
Direct labor market intervention by the government increases the employment of all gender. There is a positive embracement of the Implemented policies that increase women participation in the paid labor (Adema et al.18). Other interventions such as the provision of training and reallocation of resources promote the participation of both genders in the labor market.
- Government regulations and laws that would ensure equality in the labor market
Government regulations that ensure equality in the labor market include laws on equal pay and equal opportunities in the market (Barrientos & Scott 68). Laws against sexual assault and harassment, as well as gender stereotyping, improve the equality between men and women in the workplace.
- Implications of gender inequality in the labor market
Gender inequalities in the labor market affect women than men despite the insistence on equal employment opportunities and implement of related policies. In that accord, women occupy less senior positions compared to men (Kaber 21). Women occupy employment in the poorly paying public sector in health, education and social services as their major fields. On the other hand, men, occupy better paying managerial jobs in the private sectors. These differences increase the gap in their remuneration.
- Social security and efficient labor market
Social protection promotes the efficiency of the labor market by ensuring there are a high number of workers to meet the production demands (Adesina 484). Social protection ensures there is economic and social feasibility through the provision of the ability of the unemployed to find jobs and improving productive employment.
Most social security schemes target those in the formal employment. As a result, the social security schemes leave out women in the informal employment sector. Development and promotion of the social security policies promotes women participation in paid labor. Therefore, they become financially empowered liberating themselves and their household. Additionally, the state yields more revenues from the increased taxable workers. The formulation and implementation of policies that support women participation in waged labor is important. The government should enact laws and regulations that support women participation in waged labor by eliminating customary stereotypes and discrimination that hinder women involvement in the labor market. Eliminating gender inequality and stereotypes is a crucial way in achieving women liberation. The government should be in the front line in the advocacy of gender equality and the implementation of better social security schemes that are gender sensitive and gender inclusive.
Adema, W., Fron, P., & Ladaique, M. (2014). How much do OECD countries spend on social protection and how redistributive are their tax/benefit systems? International Social Security Review, 67(1), 1-25.
Adesina, J. O. (2011). Beyond the social protection paradigm: social policy in Africa's development. Canadian Journal of Development Studies, 32(4), 454-470.
Barrientos, A. & Scott, J. (2008). Social Transfers and Growth: A Review. Manchester: Brooks World Poverty Institute.
Beblavý, M., Thum, A. E., & Veselkova, M. (2013). Education and social protection policies in OECD countries: Social stratification and policy intervention. Journal of European Social Policy, 23(5), 487-503.
Camfield, L. (2014). Growing Up in Ethiopia and Andhra Pradesh: The Impact of Social Protection Schemes on Girls’ Roles and Responsibilities. European Journal of Development Research, 26(1), 107-123.
Devereux, S., McGregor, J. A., & Sabates‐Wheeler, R. (2011). Introduction: Social protection for social justice. IDS Bulletin, 42(6), 1-9.
Drolet, J. L. (2014). Adaptive Social Protection. In Social Protection and Social Development (pp. 35-49). Netherlands: Springer Publishers.
Giovannetti, G., de Haan, A., Sabates-Wheeler, R., & Sanfilippo, M. (2011). Successes in social protection: what lessons can be learned?. Canadian Journal of Development Studies, 32(4), 439-453.
Hickey, S. (2010). The politics of social protection in Africa: what do we get from a social contract approach? Background paper for European Report on Development.
Kabeer, N. (2008). Mainstreaming Gender in Social Protection for the Informal Economy. London: Commonwealth Secretariat.
Kanbur, R. (2014). Social Protection. Towards Human Development: New Approaches to Macroeconomics and Inequality, 86.
Luttrell, C. & Moser, C. (2004). Gender and Social Protection. London: Overseas Development Institute.
Pattenden, J. (2011). Social protection and class relations: Evidence from scheduled caste women's associations in rural South India. Development and Change, 42(2), 469-498.
Pineda-Ofreneo, R. (2014). Addressing the Social Dimensions of Climate Change through Adaptive Social Protection. Philippine Journal of Social Development, 3.
Sweetman, C. (2011). Introduction: Special Issue on Social Protection. Gender and Development,19(2): 169-177.