Throughout the past year, as I attended events such as the annual meetings of the UN Commission on the Status of Women early in the year and the most recent UN General Assembly, intersectionality was one of the top issues that I heard brought up repeatedly in sessions and in the hallways. At the UN and in side-meetings with NGOs and women activists, it seemed that, inevitably, we are all speaking about, asking about, or touching on things related to intersectionality. While there was a broad consensus on what intersectionality meant, people used the term in a variety of different ways and I heard little talk about its practical applications, especially for the Global South. How should countries start including intersectionality in their measurement instruments – many of which were established decades ago – and what is required in terms of legal and data governance as well as technical and financing arrangements? What is the role of governments and what is the role of citizens and those excluded populations in generating and using the data?
To help answer these and other questions, I am glad to announce that Data2X is launching a new program of work to explore intersectionality and gender data. We all know that granular evidence on those features of exclusion that intersect with gender is the first step towards the design of effective policies that will empower the excluded, close gender inequality gaps and leave no one behind. Data2X’s aims to demystify what it takes to form a well-functioning gender data system that roots intersectionality in a gender and development perspective and derives practical implications for effective policymaking in the Global South.
We are starting from a conceptual framework with four main pillars: data, agency, policy, and impact. We will explore both foundational data issues and in-depth work in specific topics including data innovations to capture gender identities beyond binary categories, ethical issues with data ownership and gender identity data, and the relevance of time use data in an intersectional framework.
Going forward, we are undertaking research to enrich and illustrate the conceptual framework, including costing and governance issues, case studies of good country examples, and convenings with experts and stakeholders in the different work-stream, all leading to practical guidance for countries and the gender data community. This work builds on Data2X’s ten-year history of serving as a platform for gender data collaboration and focusing on identifying gender data gaps across sectors. We are collaborating with our long-term partner Open Data Watch on this work. Stay tuned for further details about our insights and I extend an invitation to all those interested to join us in this important and challenging work program.