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Global leaders called on to build universal social protection systems that address inequality


The Southern Centre for Inequality Studies (SCIS) hosted the 2022 edition of its Annual Inequality Lecture on 18 October 2022

As a research and policy institute that aims to understand issues of inequality across the global South; SCIS convenes the Annual Inequality Lecture as an opportunity for scholars and researchers in the field to glean from the insights of a renowned expert showcasing the latest research and findings on inequality studies. 

Recently, COVID-19 has placed greater impetus on the need to find solutions to inequality and how it intersects with race, class, and gender. Like the 2021 edition, the Annual Inequality Lecture was hosted virtually. The Conversation Africa, this year’s media partner, also streamed it on its digital platforms, thereby widening its reach to a global South audience.

The guest speaker of this year’s Annual Inequality Lecture was Shahra Razavi, Director of the Social Protection Department at the International Labour Organization (ILO) who joined virtually from Geneva, Switzerland. It was moderated by the Director of the Centre on African Philanthropy and Social Investment (CAPSI) and SCIS board member, Dr Bhekinkosi Moyo. Wits University’s Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research and Innovation, Professor Lynn Morris, introduced the keynote speaker by contextualising the lecture and sharing her vast experience with the audience.

In her presentation, Shahra Razavi drew connections between inequality and social protection while exploring the potential and limits of social protection policies in reducing inequalities. In expanding on these, she positioned social protection as an effective mechanism for reducing poverty and inequalities. She also called on global leaders to build universal social protection systems that address intersecting nature of inequality.

Razavi shared further insights into the knowledge-building and programme work that the ILO and other globally aligned organisations have undertaken in recent years. These serve as a source of guidance for sector stakeholders with an interest in the development of the field which they can access for policy formulation and decision-making processes. Using informative slides, she provided those in attendance with regional and country examples. Attendees, who included students, members of academia, policymakers and development practitioners, engaged with the presentation and the keynote speaker in an open Q&A session resulting in a rich and robust discussion.

The recording of the Annual Inequality Lecture is available on the SCIS YouTube channel.