The call for improved SDG data collection includes gender inequality
On International Women’s Day, we investigate the case for better data in order to track and measure progress toward achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Institute for Economics & Peace has been measuring peacefulness, along with its drivers, for over 10 years. Analysis has consistently shown that the most peaceful communities and countries demonstrate strength and progress across a broad set of factors.
These factors have been captured and defined in IEP’s Positive Peace framework, which display a broad consistency in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Positive Peace defines the attitudes, structures and institutions that underpin and sustain peaceful societies. The principles captured in both Goal 5 and Goal 16 relating to gender equality are all present within the Positive Peace framework.
Since 2016, IEP’s ‘Measuring Goal 16’ research reports have led the call for better data quality and availability in order to measure and track progress of the Sustainable Development Goals. At present the majority of gender specific data is scarce, and therefore collection of high-quality data that disaggregates men, women, boys and girls is important for monitoring progress toward both Goal 5, Goal 16 and all other Sustainable Development Goals.
Gender equality & peace
● Gender equality shows a consistent and demonstrable relationship with peacefulness.
● Sustainable Development Goal 5 can be a strategic entry point for facilitating and sustaining peace, as efforts to promote and protect gender equality can help to create just, peaceful and inclusive societies.
● Countries with strong laws to protect women from gender based violence are less likely to initiate interstate violence, and tend to have lower rates of fatalities from homicide, terrorism and armed conflict.
● Gender equality is a component of Positive Peace, which works as a system to build society-wide strengths and capabilities. In this context it is important to consider the mutually reinforcing nature of peace factors within Goal 5 and Goal 16.
● Improvements in gender equality can precede improvements in peacefulness. Over the last 5 years, of the 20 countries that experienced largest improvement in their internal Global Peace Index scores, 15 showed improvements in the “gender inequality” indicator of the Positive Peace framework – before becoming more peaceful.
The case for better data
It is important to be able to build an accurate picture of progress toward achieving both Goal 5 and Goal 16. Data that groups genders and ages together not only restricts the measurement of progress, but can also limit the effectiveness of solutions tailored to create and sustain peace.
For example, a lack of disaggregated data can make policy responses to gender inequality more difficult to craft. Using crime as an example, a framework that would keep women safe in public spaces would be different from a framework that prevents violence arising from organised crime.
Crime statistics that group men and women together, without including information on the victim/perpetrator relationship, also risk an ineffective policy response. Policy or institutional responses tailored to the motives of the act, through the use of effective data collection, can help to optimise their effectiveness.
Using another example, frameworks that promote high human capital in women and girls may not be as effective when applied to men and boys in a different context. It is important to develop a clear understanding of the different experiences of men, women, boys and girls through the use of high-quality, disaggregated data.
Data that is accurately reflective of gendered experiences can assist in the creation of evidence-based policies that help promote the institutions, attitudes and structures that sustain peace. In addition to this, accurate data can inform the ‘strong institutions’ identified by SDG16 and its indicators, which in turn help to promote justice and peace.