Women as a collective are on the front line to receive the potential harms of the digitisation of welfare systems. They are more likely to experience poverty than men due to factors including low employment rate; higher engagement in unpaid labour such as care duties of children, elderly and other dependent family members; and lack of access to property. Ignoring this ensures that digital welfare systems, by design, will reinforce the structural gender inequalities inherent within the welfare system. However, by adopting the belief that design is a culture and practice to obtain a desired reality, governments can gain a clearer understanding of how to implement participatory practices and a gender-responsive approach to build public services that lead to a more equitable society for all.
This report explores these truths and draws on specialised knowledge from experts and designers to showcase three design concepts that unlock the real potential automated decision-making systems offers governments around the world. These concepts address the different pain points that women face as users and claimants of these systems and help envision a reality where digital welfare empowers women.