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BRIEFMay 26, 2022

Strengthening Gender Statistics

Strengthening Gender Statistics

Introducing the Strengthening Gender Statistics (SGS) Project

Globally, women control fewer economic resources than men, including land, financial assets, and employment, leading to differences in their development outcomes. Poor quality gender data translates into poor gender policies. Reliable and complete data on how economic realities for men and women differ and what social factors influence these differences is essential for designing effective policies necessary for development progress. But too often, data gaps inhibit progress on crucial development issues.  

That is why, the Strengthening Gender Statistics (SGS) project is working with National Statistics Offices (NSOs) in 12 partner countries to improve the availability, quality, and use of gender data within the economic domain as well as generate lessons for global engagement on the topic. Global knowledge products and implementation lessons coming out of the initiative will ensure that the benefits of the project extend beyond this group of countries. Collecting data on assets, work and employment, and entrepreneurship is key to measuring gender inequalities, monitoring progress toward gender-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and conducting research for the design and evaluation of policies and interventions that aim to eliminate gender inequalities.

Aligned with the SDG framework, the World Bank’s Gender Strategy, and the IDA20 Data for Policy commitment, the SGS project was launched in October 2020 with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

How SGS Works

The Strengthening Gender Statistics project provides technical assistance to National Statistics Offices in low-income IDA-eligible countries to improve the availability quality and use of gender data. The SGS project draws on expertise from the Gender Group, the Poverty and Equity Global Practice, and the Development Data Group’s Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) program, which have a long track-record of investing in improvements of gender statistics.  In doing so, the project is leveraging the World Bank’s long-standing engagements with National Statistics Offices and our concerted efforts in the recent past, through the LSMS+ Initiative and the Women’s Work and Employment Partnership, to improve the availability and quality of individual-disaggregated survey data on economic outcomes.

Gender data gaps arise due to various reasons and require a holistic approach to be narrowed and closed. The SGS project has identified three different entry points that address problems along the data lifecycle.

SGS Entry points

  1. Data production: Significant investments have been made to address methodological concerns and practical challenges related to economic gender data. New evidence has emerged from projects such as LSMS+ and the Women’s Work and Employment Partnership on the implications of respondent selection, updated guidance on employment indicators, and the urgency of sex-disaggregation. These findings demonstrate the need and value of adopting a gender lens in the survey design process. However, advances in measuring women’s economic status are often not translated into survey operations. The SGS project provides targeted advice to survey design and implementation protocols within each country’s specific survey context.
  2. Data analysis: Even where data are being disaggregated by sex, in-depth analysis of that data is not always undertaken. Too often, gender data use is hindered by limited tabulation and dissemination of existing data. As a result, the uptake and use of gender data are challenged in the translation and communication of statistics and not sufficiently leveraged in policy dialogue. The SGS project offers country-tailored data analysis training on generating basic gender statistics calculated using internationally recognized methodology.
  3. Data dissemination: Efforts to collect high-quality gender data are only helpful if the data is used. Disseminating collected data is not going the extra mile, but a fundamental step in the data production cycle to ensure uptake and use of data for policy making. The SGS project supports the production of gender abstracts and factbooks and works with partner countries to promote the dissemination of data sets and associated reports.