The Climate Crisis Demands Feminist Data Solutions. CSW66 is the Moment to Act.

Natalie Cleveland February 14, 2022

As 2022 begins to unfold, the world stands at a critical inflection point. At least 85% of the global population is directly affected by climate change, with women, girls, and LGBTQ+ communities experiencing distinct and differential impacts. Simultaneously, women and girls have faced serious setbacks during the COVID-19 pandemic, from unprecedented and disproportionate job loss to heightened gender-based violence. As these global crises converge—and with less than a decade to deliver on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—the time for action is now. 

The upcoming 66th session of the Commission on the Status of Women will consider environmental and disaster risk reduction for the first time in two decades. To address the urgency of this unique global moment and build on momentum gained during COP26, Member States must be poised to take bold action. 

In the pursuit of climate justice for women and girls, gender data is both an enabling factor and a strategic imperative.    

When used to craft policies, guide investments, and monitor implementation, gender data drives gender equality. But its quality—and even its existence—is not a given. Gaps in gender data remain pervasive worldwide, and data on the gender-environment nexus is particularly lacking, hampering feminist policy innovation.  

Member States have already recognized the need for change. The necessity of more and better gender-environment data has long been established at the global level, from the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UNCCD to the more recent Sendai Framework and Enhanced Gender Action Plan adopted at COP25. But despite this recognition, progress has been slow. Gender data systems continue to face chronic underinvestment, and missing data perpetuates worldwide gaps in knowledge.  

To drive real progress toward the data priorities that Member States have already identified, CSW66 presents a key opportunity.  

In the pursuit of climate justice for women and girls, gender data is both an enabling factor and a strategic imperative.  

As in past sessions, the annual Secretary General’s report to the Commission and subsequent zero draft outline an ambitious set of draft agreed conclusions, including a recommendation to strengthen support for gender-environment statistics (paragraph s). However, the text serves to throw the lack of a strong normative framework for measurement into stark relief. Gaps in gender data will impact the achievement of any of the zero draft recommendations, and meaningful progress will require concerted action. To meet the Commission’s—and, indeed, the world’s—goals, Member States must amplify calls for gender data investment and innovation.   

In forthcoming revisions to the text, Member States should: 

  1. Reinsert critical language on financing for gender data. Greater investment in gender data systems is a prerequisite for meeting any of the Commission’s objectives, and this precedent has already been established in previous agreed conclusions.  
  1. Strengthen language surrounding the policy process. All Member States—not only developing countries, as the current draft implies—should rely on data throughout the policy cycle.  
  1. Retain new language on data use. When consulted to craft policies and guide investments, gender data can accelerate gender equality and ultimately contribute to climate resilience.  
  1. Retain language on links between climate change and associated effects on women and girls. Illuminating interlinkages between climate change and seemingly unrelated impacts on women and girls is key to filling knowledge gaps and advancing a comprehensive, intersectional policy approach. 

To learn more, read Data2X’s policy brief on the 66th Commission on the Status of Women

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