Gender Statistics: 1975 and Beyond
Gender statistics are the body of statistics compiled, analysed and presented by sex, reflecting gender issues in society. This statistics need to be produced in close co-operation with users to respond to the needs of policy makers, planners, researchers, the media and the public. In order for user’s needs to be fully considered, it is necessary to examine gender concerns and goals in society and identify the necessary statistics and indicators to address them with adequate policies and plans to assess and monitor the related cases. [gender-az]
Table of Contents
Origins of Gender Statistics
The history of gender statistics begins with the First World Conference on Women (Mexico 1975), which first recognized the importance of producing statistics on women. The importance of such statistics was reiterated at the Second World Conference on Women (Copenhagen 1980). By the Third World Conference on Women (Nairobi 1985), some work in the field of gender/women statistics had begun. Statistics Sweden was perhaps the first statistical office worldwide to designate specific staff to work on gender statistics in 1983.
The Nairobi World Conference on Women (1985) also marked the major watershed between the focus on statistics on women and work on gender statistics. By the time of the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing 1995), many national statistical offices and international agencies had prepared primers and guides on the new approach of gender statistics.
What are Gender Statistics?
Gender statistics refers to the collection and compilation of sex-disaggregated data on various socioeconomic phenomena, so as to be useful for the gender analysis, planning and development. Sex rather than gender is used for classification of data because the respondent’s sex is easy to identify in censuses and surveys and gender differences can be to a great extent captured through sex differentials. Gender statistics are designed to illuminate the conditions of women as well as men in order to generate awareness of the present situation, to guide policy, to mobilize action and to monitor progress towards improvement and to reveal the issues that need to be confronted.(United Nations,1991; Urdaneta-Ferran,1995).
Gender statistics may include quantitative and qualitative data for examining the socio-cultural context of sex differences, sectoral data in the fields of population, health (including reproductive health), education, economically active population etc, and the indicators for measuring the gender impacts of policies and programmes.
Primary Requirements for Gender Statistics
Most sources agree on three primary requirements for gender statistics:
1. All statistics on individuals should be collected, collated and presented disaggregated by sex;
2. All variables and characteristics should be analyzed by and presented with sex as a primary and overall classification;
3. Specific efforts should be made to identify gender issues and to ensure that data addressing these are collected and made available.
1. Formulation of concepts and definitions used in data collection that adequately reflect the diversity of women and men . . . . and capture all aspects of their lives; and
2. Development of data collection methods that take into account stereotypes and social and cultural factors that might produce gender biases.
Importance of Gender Statistics
First, they raise awareness about the prevailing conditions of men and women.
Second, they provide policy-makers with sufficient baseline information to initiate policy changes.
Third, they provide an unbiased source of information to monitor governmental policies and actions from a gender perspective.
Beijing Platform for Action- Strategic Objective H.3
Generate and disseminate gender-disaggregated data and information for planning and evaluation
Actions to be taken
209.By national, regional and international statistical services and relevant governmental and United Nations agencies, in cooperation with research and documentation organizations, in their respective areas of responsibility:
(a) Ensure that statistics related to individuals are collected, compiled, analysed and presented by sex and age and reflect problems, issues and questions related to women and men in society;
(b) Collect, compile, analyse and present on a regular basis data disaggregated by age, sex, socio-economic and other relevant indicators, including number of dependants, for utilization in policy and programme planning and implementation and to reflect problems and questions related to men and women in society;
(c) Involve centres for women’s studies and research organizations in developing and testing appropriate indicators and research methodologies to strengthen gender analysis, as well as in monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the goals of the Platform for Action;
(d) Designate or appoint staff to strengthen gender-statistics programmes and ensure coordination, monitoring and linkage to all fields of statistical work, and prepare output that integrates statistics from the various subject areas;
(e) Improve data collection on the full contribution of women and men to the economy, including their participation in the informal sector(s);
(f) Develop a more comprehensive knowledge of all forms of work and employment by:
(i) Improving data collection on the unremunerated work which is already included in the United Nations System of National Accounts, such as in agriculture, particularly subsistence agriculture, and other types of non-market production activities;
(ii) Improving measurements that at present underestimate women’s unemployment and underemployment in the labour market;
(iii) Developing methods, in the appropriate forums, for assessing the value, in quantitative terms, of unremunerated work that is outside national accounts, such as caring for dependants and preparing food, for possible reflection in satellite or other official accounts that may be produced separately from but are consistent with core national accounts, with a view to recognizing the economic contribution of women and making visible the unequal distribution of remunerated and unremunerated work between women and men;
(g) Develop an international classification of activities for time-use statistics that is sensitive to the differences between women and men in remunerated and unremunerated work and collect data, disaggregated by sex. At the national level, subject to national constraints:
(i) Conduct regular time-use studies to measure, in quantitative terms, unremunerated work, including recording those activities that are performed simultaneously with remunerated or other unremunerated activities;
(ii) Measure, in quantitative terms, unremunerated work that is outside national accounts and work to improve methods to accurately reflect its value in satellite or other official accounts that are separate from but consistent with core national accounts;
(h) Improve concepts and methods of data collection on the measurement of poverty among women and men, including their access to resources;
(i) Strengthen vital statistical systems and incorporate gender analysis into publications and research;
give priority to gender differences in research design and in data collection and analysis in order to improve data on morbidity;
and improve data collection on access to health services including access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, maternal care and family planning, with special priority for adolescent mothers and for elder care;
(j) Develop improved gender-disaggregated and age-specific data on the victims and perpetrators of all forms of violence against women, such as domestic violence, sexual harassment, rape, incest and sexual abuse, and trafficking in women and girls, as well as on violence by the agents of the State;
(k) Improve concepts and methods of data collection on the participation of women and men with disabilities, including their access to resources.
210. By Governments:
(a) Ensure the regular production of a statistical publication on gender that presents and interprets topical data on women and men in a form suitable for a wide range of non-technical users;
(b) Ensure that producers and users of statistics in each country regularly review the adequacy of the official statistical system and its coverage of gender issues, and prepare a plan for needed improvements, where necessary;
(c) Develop and encourage the development of quantitative and qualitative studies by research organizations, trade unions, employers, the private sector and non-governmental organizations on the sharing of power and influence in society, including the number of women and men in senior decision-making positions in both the public and private sectors;
(d) Use more gender-sensitive data in the formulation of policy and implementation of programmes and projects.
211. By the United Nations:
(a) Promote the development of methods to find better ways to collect, collate and analyse data that may relate to the human rights of women, including violence against women for use by all relevant United Nations bodies;
(b) Promote the further development of statistical methods to improve data that relate to women in economic, social, cultural and political development;
(c) Prepare a new issue of The World’s Women at regular five-year intervals and distribute it widely;
(d) Assist countries, upon request, in the development of gender policies and programmes;
(e) Ensure that the relevant reports, data and publications of the Statistical Division of the United Nations Secretariat and INSTRAW on progress at the national and international levels are transmitted to the Commission on the Status of Women on a regular and coordinated fashion.
212. By multilateral development institutions and bilateral donors:
Encourage and support the development of national capacity in developing countries and in countries with economies in transition by providing resources and technical assistance so that countries can fully measure the work done by women and men, including both remunerated and unremunerated work, and, where appropriate, use satellite or other official accounts for unremunerated work.
- The World Bank
- From Margins to Mainstream- From Gender Statistics to Engendering Statistical Systems: UNIFEM
- Gender Statistics: Are there new challenges for Europe? (UNECE)
- 2nd Global Forum on Gender Statistics, Accra, Ghana, 26-28 January 2009
- The World’s Women 2005- Progress in Statistics: UNSTATS
- Gender Statistics and Data Gaps: CSO, India
- Gender Statistics Programme in the Arab Countries: ESCWA
- Gender and Statistics Network (GESNET): UNECA
- Development of a National Gender Statistics Website- A Proposed Framework: ESCWA
- Statistics and Gender Considerations: FAO
- Publications on Gender Statistics Methods: UNSTATS