NEW YORK — The World Bank Group is scaling up partnerships with UN agencies and the Data2X initiative to fill vast data gaps related to women and girls, as part of a broad effort to empower them and end extreme poverty.
“It is not enough anymore to make a case on moral grounds, because we are not making enough progress” toward gender equality, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said. “So I want to combine all the data collected by the World Bank and other organizations and make it an enduring part of our diplomacy and work.
“We need to bring the data home and make it real for people. Help make an evidence-based case for helping women and girls,” she said at a Data 2X event to announce a number of new partnerships at Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Scant data globally reveal too little about women’s health, childbirth conditions, workplace roles, economic empowerment, and labor, which makes benchmarking progress toward achieving gender equality difficult.
Among new and expanded partnerships, the World Bank Group is working with the International Labour Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization to operationalize new international definitions of work and employment that recognize all productive activities, paid and unpaid — which has major implications for how women’s work is measured.
The result will inform guidance to statisticians and survey designers with the aim of more accurately measuring women’s labor. This will complement the Bank’s work with the UN Evidence and Data for Gender Equality (EDGE) Initiative to gather data on women’s asset ownership and entrepreneurship.
We need better data and more of it, said World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati. “I am very optimistic,” she added, noting that new technologies are facilitating better data collection at lower cost.
Women make up half the world’s workforce and perform most of its unpaid care, but they remain far more vulnerable than men to poverty, she wrote Monday: Educating and empowering them and ensuring they have access to economic assets is vital to ending poverty once and for all.