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Ensuring Democratic Citizenship: A Gender Perspective on Contending Pathways for Socio-economic Security in South Asia
Amrita Chhachhi
As livelihood insecurity rises inexorably, 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, which require deeper exploration. This article assesses the differences as well as areas of convergence in some dominant pathways out of poverty, aiming towards socio-economic security, in relation to gender. The pathways are differentiated in terms of the basis for entitlements: 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 article 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 rights for socio-economic security. In the last section, some possible avenues for the universalization of social protection, with suggestions for some South Asian level regional mechanisms, are presented.

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