August 3, 2016

LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND: Gender Data – Women and Girls Matter

Recently, part of the Open Institute team attended the SDG 5 forum in Nairobi that was organized by CIVICUS, FEMNET and SDGs Forum Kenya. It was well attended by experts from different fields related to gender that came to brainstorm on the way forward with SDG5. Partnerships, policies, among others were discussed in detail.

SDG 5, Gender equality and empower all women and girls, is one of the 17 sustainable development goals set by the UN. It has 7 targets and 14 indicators. This goal emphasizes the need to uplift women and girls in the society by eradicating all forms of discrimination, eliminating all violence and harmful practices against them. It also pushes for recognition and valuation of unpaid care and domestic work as well as promotes for shared responsibilities within the household. The goal advocates for undertaking of reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, especially in terms of ownership and control over different types of property and pushes for enhanced use of ICT to empower women. It also calls for adoption and strengthening of sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls at all levels.

In many forums on SDGs, it has been widely agreed upon that we should “leave no one behind”. This means involving everyone in the processes of achieving the sustainable development goals. By everyone, it is meant all government and non-government institutions, all CSOs, FBOs, among others, and mostly local communities. As it is said that charity begins at home, so does development. There is greater change and impact when developments, whether social or economic or any other, are done from the ground up. This way each community gets to develop itself according to their own needs. This also applies to the gender narrative.

At the Open Institute, it is our experience that having women collect data relating to their issues as well as their community’s issues has great benefits to the women. It enables them to become active and gives them the confidence to participate effectively in finding or developing solutions relating to them.

At OI, we spend much of our time building on the data literacy of community members – especially women. We involve women in every step of the way – from designing the questionnaires that will determine the data to be collected, in the forums where the data is analysed and where they come up with solutions and in being the champions of delivering those solutions.

Data on gender will not only be useful for SDG5 but it will cut across many other SDGs. This is because one cannot collect data on women and girls and not factor in the economic, social and health aspects which cover more than half the SDGs. Gender data will not only empower women and girls, but will also empower communities. So as we go along with the data revolution, we should also remember that in leaving no one behind – women and girls matter.

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