by the Open Data Watch Team
23 June 2023
Achieving gender equality requires open gender data. Gender impacts every sphere of life, and we need to use that lens—and data—to understand people’s lived experiences.
For example, open gender data is needed to combat gender-based violence as it provides insights into the prevalence, types, and frequency of incidents—shedding light on an issue too often kept in the shadows.
It is needed to close the gender pay gap as it identifies pay inequities across various industries, occupations, and regions—arming individuals with the information they need to advocate for equal pay.
It is needed to understand maternal mortality rates in hospitals—offering insight into the potential hidden biases of patient care.
And lastly, it is needed to provide a solid foundation of evidence for decision-making—allowing for those in government to develop targeted interventions that address specific inequality and those outside to advocate for such policies.
Open gender data matters for these issues and so many more. However, while there have been notable gains from open data, it is crucial to acknowledge the challenges that exist.
The lack of openness and coverage of official gender data around the world continues to be a barrier to using data for evidenced-based policy making. More research is needed to understand how countries are moving gender data up the data value chain from collection to publication to uptake and use—and how openness is a catalyst for change.
Here at Open Data Watch we are working to change that.
Since our start, ODW has consistently advocated for open data. Through the Open Data Inventory, we have built strong and trusted relationships with national statistical offices and other stakeholders to make data for policy available and open.
We are building on this experience to apply the principles of openness to gender data through our latest initiative—the Gender Data Compass. The Gender Data Compass offers direction and guidance to national statistical offices to help strengthen national gender data systems and improve policies for gender equality.
The Gender Data Compass has three focuses: monitoring, researching, and advocating.
We will be monitoring national capacity and assessing countries across 50 relevant gender indicators through the expansion of the Open Gender Data Index (OGDI). Are countries producing the official statistics needed to measure gender equality? Are they making it available and open?
We will also be researching the enabling environment to better understand the policies, laws, and governance processes relevant to the production and openness of official gender data. Are the right standards and systems in place to achieve the change we need?
And lastly, we will be advocating for the necessary changes to ensure open gender data lead to more equitable, gender-informed policy. Are political decision-makers recognizing the power of open gender data? How has the use of open gender data had a positive impact in national priority setting?
Together these three work streams represent the interconnectedness of the directions that can be traveled to arrive at the destination of strong gender data systems. The Gender Data Compass offers not a set course but rather guidance for countries to set forth on their own path towards overcoming persistent challenges and implementing solutions to harness the power of open gender data.
Our work begins now. Over the course of the next year, Open Data Work will:
- Assess the openness and availability of official gender data in 195 countries
- Emphasize open gender data in data for development and gender equality conversations
- Support countries to strengthen their national statistical systems with a focus on open gender data and collaborate with partners in such efforts
- Identify champions of open gender data and amplify their efforts (check out our video below)
- Document use cases and impact stories of the potential and promise of open gender data
- Disseminate research findings with a focus on uptake of call to actions
Stay tuned for results from our gender data openness and availability assessment alongside guidance and advocacy material in the coming months.
We hope you join us in our efforts to chart a course for gender equality with the Gender Data Compass. If you have any questions, comments, or points of interest for collaboration, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org