Global Resources

Cash transfer programmes, poverty reduction and empowerment of women in South Africa

Author: S. Plagerson, M. S. Ulriksen
Publisher: International Labour Organization
Publication Date: Jan 2015

This country study of cash transfer programmes, poverty reduction and economic empowerment of women in South Africa forms part of a comparative analysis with Brazil, Chile, India, and Mexico. The report provides an overview of the social assistance system in South Africa, looking into the policy objectives, types and levels of social grants as well as how these are administered. The report then examines whether the cash transfer system contributes to reducing poverty amongst women and increases their economic empowerment. It is found that cash transfers can indirectly improve women’s household decision-making power, but that they can also reinforce traditional gender roles that leave women in a subordinate position in society. Finally, the report discusses the interlinkages between social grants and other policies that may facilitate women’s access to employment services, health care, skills development and so on, which is followed by a conclusion and a range of recommendations. 

Adapted from authors’ summary.