What is gender data?

Gender data:

Is collected and presented by sex as a primary and overall classification;

Reflects gender issues;

Is based on concepts and definitions that adequately reflect the diversity of women and men and capture all aspects of their lives;

Is developed through collection methods that take into account stereotypes and social and cultural factors that may induce gender bias in the data.

This is the definition of gender statistics used by the United Nations Statistics Division. We additionally recognize the need for data systems to evolve further to adequately and appropriately represent individuals of all gender identities, whether they identify as men, women, or other.

We need unbiased data to design policies and monitor progress in people’s lives. But, right now, the data picture is imbalanced. We only have a partial snapshot of the lives of women and girls and the constraints they face because there are gaps in gender data worldwide.

Why are there gender data gaps?

Close Data producers lack resources to produce high quality gender data. This can be a particularly acute problem in low-income countries where gender data gaps tend to be starkest.
Close Data systems do not adequately capture the lived experiences of women and girls. This can be because data is not collected about critical aspects of women’s lives, and because measurement biases in data collection methods lead to misrepresentation.
Close Gender data is not prioritized by decision makers. Gender data production will only increase if there is demand from users, including policymakers and civil society.

Achieving gender equality requires quality, policy-relevant data on women and girls. Without it, we cannot make informed decisions, and we cannot track if those decisions are improving lives.

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