Ms Patricia Koizan Gbani is one of the many women working to advance social security both at the national and international level. Ms Koizan Gbani is Financial and Accounting Director at the Social Insurance Institute - National Social Insurance Fund of Côte d’Ivoire, and in October 2019 she was re-elected for a second term as a member of the Control Commission of the International Social Security Association (ISSA). Here is an interview with Ms Koizan Gbani on the occasion of International Women’s Day on 8 March.
How do you see the state of gender equality in social security today, globally and in your country?
Gender equality in social security flows naturally from gender equality in all areas (political, professional and social). There has clearly been a great deal of progress since the 1990s, with the strengthening of international and national gender equality legislation, and notably since 1995, with the Beijing Declaration on women’s rights.
There is still much to be done in various parts of the world where social security cover is limited to paid workers and civil servants, and men and women do not have equal access to work.
In Côte d’Ivoire today, men and women have the same rights to social protection. Specifically, women benefit from maternity insurance, which allows them to continue to receive full pay when they are on maternity leave.
Moreover, professionally, since the 1990s women have occupied posts with high levels of responsibility in the social security system in Côte d’Ivoire. For example, we have had two women ministers of social affairs and a woman CEO of the Côte d’Ivoire National Social Insurance Fund (Caisse nationale de prévoyance sociale – CNPS).
Today, women represent 51% of the total CNPS workforce and 35% of the management committee, holding highly strategic posts such as Financial Director, Human Resources Director, Administrative Control Director, Internal Audit Director and Assistant Director General.
How can social security institutions play a key role in progressing towards gender equality in social security?
Social security institutions can help with the progress of gender equality in this area by promoting women to high levels of responsibility and by offering the same benefits for everyone.
They should also offer innovative benefits allowing women to achieve a work-life balance. I am thinking, for example, of in-company childcare.
As social security is an essential component of the right to work, it must operate in favour of gender equality in access to the world of work.
How can international cooperation between social security institutions, through ISSA, make a difference in this area?
International cooperation between social security institutions can contribute to this project through training and exchanges of experiences. This can also be done by showcasing women who have succeeded in their professional careers in social security institutions or international organizations.
What role can women play within social security institutions, as leaders and role models?
Women are very sensitive to everything concerning human well-being and security. Women also play an important role in the struggle for social and human progress, the development of science, and leadership. Based on this, women have a very important role to play in social security institutions, where they need to provoke change and innovation.
As leaders and role models, women must encourage their colleagues and co-workers to seek excellence in all their activities and to develop leadership. They must also work to achieve quality of service for people with social security cover and ensure good governance in social security bodies to see that the current systems continue.
What is your message to women on this day?
The message I want to send to women on this special day is one of hope imbued with pride. Through their actions, they are contributing to promoting society as a whole. There have been many advances in rights and gender equality, but in the current context where women remain marginalized in certain parts of the world, there is still work to be done and this requires the cohesion and convergence of ideas and actions.
I would like to ask women, at whatever level, to continue to fight to take their full place in society.