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Improving our skills for mainstreaming gender statistics

Photo credit: UN/Martine Perret

Increasing attention is being paid today to gender equality. There is growing awareness of the importance of narrowing gaps between girls and boys, women and men in all spheres of their lives - education, economic, human security, health, and wellbeing, etc. But will this ambitious aim of gender equality COME TRUE if gender remains an afterthought rather than mainstreamed throughout the entire policymaking process?  

According to UN Women, there are 53 gender-specific indicators in the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. However, only 12 of them have data regularly produced. Given its crucial role, this lack of gender data needs urgent action if we are to accelerate the achievement of the timebound framework.  Particularly at times of crisis, such as COVID-19, gender data are more crucial than ever for governments to design and formulate the appropriate protection and response plans.
For example, there is evidence showing that women and girls are differentially impacted by COVID-19 and disproportionately are likely to be excluded. 

As the axiom goes, what is not counted does not count, and when it does not count, it will be left behind, and ultimately left out. Limited data can widen inequalities and hamper progress in monitoring and assessment, which undermines efforts to leave no one behind.  

While developing new methodologies and finding ways to collect new data can help to meet these needs, it is not enough. Challenges remain because some collected data might not be used, and some needed data might not be collected, might be misprocessed or will just not be fit for purpose. Analysis, dissemination and use of data is necessary in order to understand where there might be data gaps. producers

We have seen that while some gender data is made available and can be used as a reliable source for policymaking, limited competence in using it or lacking awareness of its value can lead to ’data wastage’, squandering precious resources involved in data collection and production. Time-use data collection, for example, has been conducted by more than 30 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, but it has not been prioritized and used when it comes to policy design. Thus, the first step to take to increase data availability and use is to take stock of available data, promote, and make full use of it.

Further, failures in the data cycle happen due to the absence of a strong connection and coordination between data producers and users, including statisticians, policymakers and researchers. Applying their different lenses, the focus and need for data will not be the same. Therefore, creating an enabling environment for an exchange dialogue is key to addressing this issue and fulfilling the priorities of mainstreaming gender perspectives in all policies and national programmes.  

As part of the global effort to close gender data gaps, ESCAP, in collaboration with UN Women and the Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific, has developed an eLearning course on gender data use for analysis, communications, and policymaking.  It aims to enhance understanding as well as strengthen capacity and skills in the production and use of gender data and statistics for policy research, policy formulation, or advocacy by national statistical offices, line ministries, the media, civil society organizations as well as national research agencies.  
This self-paced e-learning course covering a broad spectrum of gender aspects is divided into three clusters:  
Cluster I. Using and interpreting gender data: This cluster reviews the concepts of sex and gender and explains how gender data and statistics can help monitor the sustainable development goals from a gender angle. The modules also provide tips on how to avoid common mistakes when interpreting data.   
Cluster II - Using gender data for analysis: This cluster reveals methodology for data analysis and how to leverage gender data sources to produce gender statistics and create basic graphs. It focuses on how to utilize survey and geospatial data for gender analysis, data integration, and so on.  It is very practically oriented and features hands-on exercises where learners can explore and perform analyses using statistical software.   

Cluster III - Using gender data for communication and policy dialogue: Limited knowledge on how to communicate the data properly also raises challenges that could impede the process of policy dialogue and the appropriate use of gender data by relevant stakeholders. This cluster focuses on how to set up the coordination mechanism between data producers and users, and how to devise communication strategies for impactful communication and efficient dissemination through different channels to meet specific needs of each audience group. 

Apart from the contents of the modules themselves, learners will also benefit from a wide range of resources, examples, and good practices provided across all three clusters. 

There is no time like the present if we want to speed up our action in making the world more inclusive, and this cost-effective eLearning course can be one of the tools to help us achieve this. We encourage anyone interested to sign up for the course.  

More information on the course and how to enroll, please click the flyer here.  

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Nasikarn Nitiprapathananun
Staff Assistant, Statistics Division
Statistics +66 2 288-1234 [email protected]