News and Stories - Gender - 12th February 2020

The Gender Data Revolution

The Gender Data Revolution

Gender data has the potential to significantly progress our work towards a more equal world and Plan International has been working to build technology that better captures data that can make a difference to girls’ lives.

Up until now however, the lack of data on women and girls has hindered efforts to advance gender equality, by not providing a full picture of the barriers holding them back.

Take school attendance amongst girls, for example.

All girls have the right to an education, but right now, girls account for 70% of the 130 million children not in school.

Traditionally, data will tell us how many girls are in school, but what about the ones who aren’t? Without all the information – in this case, adequately measuring how many girls leave school for various reasons, including marriage, pregnancy, sexual violence, school fees, the list goes on – how can we even begin to address the problem?

When it comes to data, women and girls are among the most invisible because current data collection fails to reflect the specific challenges they face – and other data relevant to their lives is not being captured at all.

Gender data is essential to creating a more equal world – that’s why we’re investing in digital technology to better capture valuable data on women and girls, which can in turn provide evidence of the need for funding and policy change.

What is Gender Data?

The term ‘gender data’ refers to data that adequately reflects differences and reveals inequalities in the situation of girls, boys, women and men.

“Girls and women count, so we need to count them. Data on gender can increase the visibility of girls’ and women’s lives. When we count them and invest in their health, rights and well-being, they lift up entire countries – and everybody wins.”

– Katja Iversen, Women Deliver President and CEO

How can digitising data help?

Digitising enables fast access to live data in real time, it provides visual representation of data making it easier to read and has greater reach, increasing access to information with the potential to cultivate change.

How is Plan International working in the digital data space?

OpenCRVS (Open Civil Registration and Vital Statistics)

OpenCRVS is the open-source civil registration software product we’ve developed, to ensure that all children are registered and receive a much need birth certificate that can protect them from early marriage, child trafficking and child labour.

Civil registration provides individuals with the documentary evidence required for recognition of their legal identity, allowing them to access healthcare, education, employment and social welfare.

OpenCRVS is an efficient way to ensure every individual on the planet is recognised, protected and provided for from birth, and using this data, the system will also standardise the inclusion of women and girls in government decision-making.

In January 2020, OpenCRVS and its customised functions was successfully demonstrated to the Government of Bangladesh and is now being rolled out across two districts as part of a pilot throughout 2020, with a view towards nation-wide roll-out.

The software and complimentary rights-based training program will register all new births and deaths in Narshingdi and Kurigram districts for the next 12 months, providing a community-based service that is accessible and efficient as possible.

When designed with a gender lens, the CRVS system produces critical evidence for governments to improve policies, services, and protections that address the unique needs of women and girls – for example, if we know where women are dying during childbirth we can provide targeted educational and health services to address the root causes. And this is how data can play a vital role in achieving gender equality.

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