The COVID-19 pandemic has stagnated—and in some areas reversed—hard-won progress on gender equality. Nearly two years after the virus first emerged, we still struggle to answer basic questions about the status and welfare of women and girls. This crisis has spotlighted what the global community has long known: there continue to be major gaps in gender data and shortfalls in the financing needed to enable countries to fill those gaps. These gaps have enormous implications for our capacity to support women and girls, creating a pertinent case for addressing shortfalls at the local, national, and global levels.
Overcoming disparities and improving women’s health, economic opportunities, and human capital are particularly important for charting a path out of the current crisis. As the international community continues to assess, address, and attempt to recover from the pandemic, we cannot neglect the unique needs of women and girls. Nor can we allow these same gaps and shortfalls to persist, stymieing our response to future crises.
Closing these gaps and responding to new demands with limited budgets requires new methods and technologies. Throughout 2021, Data2X and Open Data Watch will examine the existing literature and consult stakeholders on promising solutions for building stronger gender data systems. Such systems with strong data collection and dissemination mechanisms are needed to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for future crises.