Making Every Woman and Girl Count
By: Lia Hansen, Lutheran Office for World Community
During the general debate of the 71stsession of the General Session, I attended a side event hosted by UN women titled: “Making Every Woman and Girl Count”. This event highlighted the importance of gendered data in the implementation of international, regional, and national policies. Eleven out of the fourteen indicators of gender inequality currently lack sufficient data. The gender data initiative has three main goals: To enable an environment to strengthen policies for the production of gender statistics, to increase data production efforts, and to increase data accessibility for more members of society. The Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, noted that we do not have 80% of data to monitor SDG5, and emphasized the lack of political will on the issue, as only 13% of countries dedicate resources to gender data. The Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop emphasized the importance of collecting data at an individual rather than a household level, known as the individual deprivation measure (IDM), in order to create effective policies.
The panel included Melinda Gates from the Gates foundation, who declared that we “can’t close gender gap if we don’t close the gender data gap”, noting that “what gets measured gets done”. She stated that it is necessary to build a data set and track data, since decisions cannot be made on estimates. She also emphasized the importance of data on women’s unpaid work, since it is part of a root inequity affecting women worldwide. Emily Courey Pryor, Senior Director of Women and Girls Initiatives for the Women and Population team at the UN Foundation, urged member states to “not just talk about gender equality, but measure and celebrate it”. She advocated for the use of data in communities and countries to drive policy change and for the accessibility of such data to community members that can hold decision makers accountable. Many heads of state, leaders of civil society and the private sector, and UN affiliates gave interventions during the session. The Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico emphasized the importance of disaggregating data, to include all groups of women and girls.
The main outcome of “Making every woman and girl count” is the idea of enabling an environment for gender statistics, to produce more disaggregated data, and increase its accessibility to every sector of society. These efforts can aid in producing more gender-sensitive policies worldwide. This discussion and initiative is essential, as it helps to mainstream gender issues into the UN bodies and initiatives, while honoring the SDG’s promise of leaving no one behind.
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