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The Use of Data to Inform Policy and Advocacy to Advance Gender Equality

Newsletter by UN Women and Women Count

Statistics on rape and domestic violence in Nigeria are collected from security agencies, like the police, as well as from the National Population Commission, which conducts itssurvey on demographics and healthevery five years.

But over the past year, Oloyede Oluyemi, the assistant director in charge of gender statistics at the country's National Bureau of Statistics, realized that this wasn't good enough. These figures are biased, as many women don't report their abuse to police, and they are not updated frequently enough.

Instead, the country should carry out stand-alone surveys on these issues, she said, where data collectors go door-to-door asking women questions including: 'Has your husband beat you today? Why did he beat you?' These surveys would be held privately, ideally with a woman as the interviewer.

It's through attending workshops with the Africa Gender Data Network that Oluyemi realized the importance of these stand-alone surveys, and she is now advocating that the Nigerian government consider conducting them.

The network, funded by Data2X and launched last year, unites statisticians from across the African continent who are the focal points for gender data in their national statistical offices. Reporter Sara Jervinglooks closer at the initiative, which is intended to provide a space for statisticians to share best practices on what has worked, or what has failed, in their countries.


We have heard the dire economic predictions and warnings that COVID-19 is pushing more people into extreme poverty. But new forecasts commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme and UN Women offer the first global estimates of extreme poverty by sex and age that take into account the economic fallout from the pandemic. The data indicates that COVID-19 has unleashed a powerful boomerang effect reversing the progress we have already made.

Not surprisingly, this data also confirms that women and girls — already overrepresented among the world’s extreme poor by 6 million — will continue to be the hardest hit. Yet these figures are only the tip of the iceberg. While they account for the overall economic slowdown, they do not reflect the specific challenges faced by women, such as their higher job losses, shrinking work hours, and greater care burdens.

This new data is featured in "From Insights to Action," the latest report by UN Women.


Spotlight On: Reproductive Health Care

Catch up: Sexual and reproductive health services have been hit hard during the pandemic, according to new data released by Marie Stopes International. The findings are based on online surveys of women in the U.K, South Africa, and India.

What now? While the data provides a snapshot of the current crisis, MSI anticipates that with a second wave of outbreaks on the horizon, the worst effects of COVID-19 are yet to come. According to MSI CEO Simon Cooke, "there is an opportunity to use this as a catalytic moment to transform services."

So what? Going forward, MSI is going to explore how telemedicine, which is already being implemented in the U.K., could provide services remotely to women in low-resource settings in India, South Africa, and Nepal.


Only 29% of women in Kenya between the ages of 15 and 49 are empowered, according to the new Kenya women's empowerment index. The study, developed by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics in partnership with the Kenya State Department for Gender, UN Women, and UNICEF, is "the first comprehensive and systematic measure" for women's and girls' empowerment in Kenya, according to the partners.

This data will allow policymakers to measure and track progress on gender equality, compare women's empowerment in Kenya with other countries, and design programs, laws, and policies to close the gender gap.

We catch up with Maureen Gitonga, gender statistics program specialist at UN Women's Kenya office, to find out how data from the index might inform efforts to measure, track, and evaluate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.


Data Snapshot: Colombia

Many health, education, and human security indicators lack data or lack sex-disaggregated data at the national level in Colombia, according to anew study from Data2X and Open Data Watch. The report examines the availability of gender data in Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Paraguay at the international, national, and microdata levels.


Global Views

In less than a decade, the digital economy will account for 25% of global GDP. Economic opportunities are increasingly mediated by online platforms; it was estimated that in 2018 the market value of just the largest global platforms — such as Apple, Google, and Alibaba — was worth more than $7 trillion.

However, women’s substantial limitations in accessing digital tools are only increasing in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several existing efforts offer practical guidanceto companies that want to support gender equality in the platform economy, writes Charlotte Ntim, disruptive technology officer at the International Finance Corporation.

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