S. Pandiaraj


The central objective of this article is to make a case for doing social security as if the following three things mattered: women’s unpaid care work, their informal work and their poverty. Undeniably, there are many positives in the way in which social security has been considered by the UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies, particularly by the Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (Committee on ESCR) and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Committee). They have addressed the gender issues and the complexities that underlie them. They have also been responsive to the various social security challenges obtaining in State Parties to the relevant international human rights treaties. This is indeed a growing area of jurisprudence. Yet, it is argued here (based on an exploration of the most important gender-based structural barriers that women face in the light of the relevant jurisprudence emanating from the Committee on ESCR and the CEDAW Committee) that there are gaps which exist in their jurisprudence, and that a more fully developed gender-based approach to the right to social security is the need of the hour.