The focus of this paper is the effect on adolescent girls' roles and responsibilities of public works schemes or cash transfers, which are the main forms of social protection in developing countries. Increasing participation in social protection is intended to enhance the development of girls in participating households, but evidence on their school participation and workloads suggests that the reverse may be happening. The paper probes what happens to girls? roles and responsibilities when households participate in social protection schemes in rural Ethiopia and Andhra Pradesh. It argues that effects are complex, and often context-specific, however, the assumption that "beneficiaries" benefit means that negative impacts are rarely acknowledged. Nonetheless, the most important question to ask is not "do schemes increase girls' work?" but "how do they change the nature of girls' work and its relation to other valued dimensions of their lives?" The paper combines review and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data, recognising that this question cannot be answered with a methodology that considers girls? schooling or workloads in isolation.