What are Gender Statistics?
Gender statistics reflect the lived realities of women and men in all areas of life. They are indispensable tools for developing evidence-based policies and solutions to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment. While data and statistics are often used interchangeably in everyday conversation, there is an important difference between the two terms: “Data” refers to the raw quantities such as a person’s sex, age, income etc. while “statistics” are the results of data analysis. In other words, statistics help to make sense of raw data through collection, compilation, analysis and presentation.
Gender Data Gaps and Challenges
The absence of adequate data can impede progress in creating informed and effective policies. Gender data gaps can be linked to three challenges:
- Weak policy space, and legal and financial environments, are barriers to progress
In many countries, the production of gender statistics is not specified in statistics laws and policies, and as a result the sector is under-prioritized and under-funded in national budgets.
- Technical and financial challenges limit the production of gender statistics
Areas such as violence against women, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and unpaid care and domestic work, are important to measure but are under-resourced. Also at risk are emerging areas, such as gender and poverty, gender pay gaps and women’s participation in decision-making, where a lot more methodological work is needed.
- Lack of access to data and limited capacity of users to use gender statistics to inform polices
Where data is available it is not made accessible or shared in user-friendly formats, impeding their use in informing evidence-based advocacy in decision-making. When data is not used to inform policy and advocacy, it leads to low demand, which in turn reduces the incentive to produce gender statistics.