FEATURE STORY

New Partnerships Aim to Improve Data on Women and Girls

December 15, 2014


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World Bank Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer Sri Mulyani Indrawati with Chelsea Clinton at the Data2X event in New York.


STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The World Bank Group, UN agencies, and Data2X are taking on a global assessment of the value of women’s 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,” said Hillary Clinton at an event in New York.
  • World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati noted that new technologies are facilitating better data collection at lower cost.

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. 



" It is not enough anymore to make a case on moral grounds, because we are not making enough progress. "

Hillary Clinton

Former U.S. Secretary of State


Along with the World Health Organization and others, the World Bank Group has developed plans to scale up collection of vital statistics. Marriage and divorce registrations will expand the ability of women and girls to own and inherit property, while birth and marriage registrations will help prevent early and forced marriage.

The Bank Group is also housing a new Global Financing Facility for the Every Woman Every Child initiative, supporting countries as they institute universal registration of every pregnancy, birth, and death by 2030.

“Data on maternal health needs to be properly recorded, so we can work with non-profit organizations and governments to improve and save lives. If you can get the data, you can save lives,” former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. “If you can't measure it, you can't manage it.”

Some 100 developing countries lack functioning systems to track births, deaths, and marriages. An estimated 230 million children under age 5 have never had their births registered — half of them of girls, who typically face vastly broader constraints as a result of biased laws and social norms that make them more vulnerable to poverty. 

Providing legal proof of identity make it possible to obtain passports, open bank accounts, access loans, obtain drivers’  licenses, vote, go to school, or draw a pension.

Data2X, housed at the United Nations Foundation and funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and others, aims to advance gender equality by building partnerships to improve data collection and use to guide policy, leverage investments, and spur economic and social progress.

It has identified 28 global gender data gaps that it is seeking to close across five domains: health, education, economic opportunities, political participation, and human security. 


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