As livelihood insecurity rises and existing systems of social security are being eroded in South Asia, a number of social protection interventions have been proposed. Despite different frameworks, there appears to be convergence on the ground between contending pathways of social protection. Contemporary policies dealing with socio-economic/human insecurity and informalization of the labour market that propose trade-offs between citizenship-based and employment-based entitlements, either explicitly or implicitly, need to be critically examined and unpacked. citizenship-based, employment-based, community-based and market-based, linking to the broader discussion on commoditization/privatization of the social versus de-commoditization and a broader framework of democratic citizenship. Drawing on evidence from research, the paper explores, not only, the ways in which the design of interventions assume, incorporate or ignore gendered structures and gender ideologies, which impinge on the outcomes of these interventions, but also the ways in which women have articulated, fought for and gained better entitlements. It argues that both employment based and citizenship based entitlements are essential and these require the universalization of social protection and measures that ensure redistribution and recognition. The last section discusses some proposals along with suggestions for South Asian level regional interventions.

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Authors: Amrita Chhachhi
Erasmus University Rotterdam
ISS Working Papers - General Series
ISS Working Paper Series / General Series
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Chhachhi, A. (2009). Democratic citizenship or market based entitlements? : a gender perspective on social protection in South Asia. ISS Working Paper Series / General Series (Vol. 486, pp. 1–39). Retrieved from