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Susan Spronk and Melisa Handl | Conditional Cash Transfers and Female Empowerment

Susan Spronk and Melisa Handl | Conditional Cash Transfers and Female Empowerment

Conditional cash transfers (CCTs) are one of the most important trends in contemporary social policy in countries in the South, having become the standard model for delivery of social services. CCTs have been praised by their promoters due to the low cost of delivery, their relatively high impact on reducing inequality, and their positive effects on women. Many feminist researchers, on the other hand, have suggested that CCTs—particularly those that specifically target women—are based on some contradictory assumptions about the nature of female empowerment. In particular, can women be empowered by entrenching an unequal division of labour? And what are the costs of these programs with respect to who women expend their labour? This presentation explores these debates in the context of Bolivia, Argentina, Egypt, Namibia and South Africa.

Susan Spronk is associate professor in the School of International Development and Global Studies. Her research focuses on the experience of development in Latin America, more specifically the impact of neoliberalism on the transformation of the state and the rise of anti-privatization movements in the Andean region. Her latest research project examined the role of public sector unions and social movements in promoting the democratic reform of public water utilities in Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador.

Melisa Handl is an Argentine lawyer and PhD student at the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa. Her research interests include gender, development and international human rights. Her PhD research investigates whether CCTs contribute to gender equality in Argentina.