WASHINGTON (TrustLaw) - Without data that accurately captures the contributions of women to an economy, development goals cannot be fully achieved, the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday, announcing an initiative to improve data collection.
Data can influence policy decisions, providing the building blocks for decisions on what types of projects are funded, where aid is spent and for assessing its impact.
Speaking at a Gallup conference on closing the gender gap, Clinton said more data needs to be collected in a gender-sensitive way.
"We collect data on everything we care about ... The daily ups and downs of the Dow and our bank accounts. So if we're serious about narrowing the gender gap and helping more girls and women, then we must get serious analyzing the data that tell the tale," she said.
To illustrate her point, Clinton cited the International Convention on Home Work, which sets employment standards for those who work from home, began with data collection.
Ela Bhatt, founder of the Self-Employed Women's Association in India, used her law degree in the 1950s to work for a local textiles labour union. When she discovered that India counted only 6 percent of women as employed, she convinced researchers to count women who worked from home.
Clinton said analyzing that data played a significant role in the home work convention.
"Getting the gender-sensitive data we need is a critical starting point. That will help act as a blueprint for building a better future for us all. It will help move toward finishing the unfinished business of helping more women become full and equal participants in every aspect of society," Clinton said.
The new initiative, Data 2X funded by USAID and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, will develop standards on how to train data collectors and analysts in gender-sensitive techniques, and it will publish a roadmap showing the gaps in this area that need to be filled, Clinton said.