Owen Raggett / Plan International

Critical gender equality issues with insufficient global data

The process of research and consultation that has generated the 2018 pilot SDG Gender Index has also revealed a number of issues that are of critical importance for girls and women worldwide. These issues are, at present, ‘missing’ from, or insufficiently covered in, the current stock of global data on gender equality. Given their importance, these are issues Equal Measures 2030 would have included in the SDG Gender Index if sufficient data were available.

Taken together, these ‘missing’ issues can form part of an advocacy agenda. These are data gaps that need to be filled and that can be filled if gender advocates speak with one voice in calling for more and better gender data.

Click on a colored bar to learn about the relevance and promising measurement approach for each missing issue.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

The interpretation of data from surveys that are designed to primarily collect information about households often assumes that resources are shared equally within a home. However, people living under the same roof often experience markedly different living standards. Many important components of the dimensions of individual well-being, i.e. income, nutrition, education, are still only measured at the level of the household, thus masking important differences in how men and women, boys and girls experience poverty.

Some World Bank Living Standards Measurement Surveys (LSMS) are used to collect data on the consumption of certain goods at the individual level, and the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) has a module on material deprivation and another on intra-household sharing of resources, where some of the questions capture individual-level information. The Individual Deprivation Measure (IDM) is a new, gender-sensitive and multidimensional measure of poverty that assesses deprivation at the individual level and overcomes the limitations of current approaches that measure poverty, collectively, at the household level. The IDM is currently being piloted in selected countries with the goal that by 2020 it is ready for global use as an individual measure of deprivation.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

An estimated 4 billion people worldwide are unprotected by any social benefit, with women disproportionately excluded from social protection schemes and their specific risks and needs often unaddressed by existing policies. Millions of women are also unprotected by maternity benefits: according to the ILO’s World Social Protection Report 2017-19, only 41.1% of mothers with newborns receive a maternity benefit, with an estimated 83 million new mothers worldwide are uncovered. Such discrepancies in access to social protection policies can limit women’s personal income and leave them more vulnerable to economic shocks, and widen gender gaps in poverty rates, particularly for single mothers, widows and disabled persons.

The World Social Protection Report provides a global overview of social protection systems, using a range of global, regional and country data on coverage, benefits and budgets. The report includes gender-specific data on protections available to women and men of working age, as well as protections for maternity, unemployment, employment injury and disability, as well as pensions.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Lack of a government-recognized identification document may limit a woman’s ability to own land, yet married women cannot obtain such a document as easily as married men in 11 countries. More than 10% of people worldwide have reported having paid bribes when dealing with ordinary land issues, and Transparency International finds that bribery around land management hits women the hardest: they are more likely to be subjected to sexual extortion.

The World Bank’s WBL initiative tracks discriminatory laws worldwide, including those governing land ownership and tenure. It collects global data on a wide range of indicators, i.e. national ID cards, marital property administer, non-monetary contributions, ownership rights to immovable property. Their 2018 report covers 189 economies and seven topics of relevance for women’s economic participation.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Gender inequalities are linked to low birth weight, which indicates undernourishment in the womb. Evidence from India suggests that children born with low birth weight are most likely to be born to mothers without decision-making power about food.

Low birth weight data, which can be used as a proxy for women’s nutrition during pregnancy, is particularly patchy in developing countries. The UNSD and UNICEF track low birth-weight births globally, collecting nationally reported statistics. Yet many births, do not take place in formal health facilities and are often unreported in official figures, resulting in under-estimates. UNICEF suggests that nearly half of the world’s infants are not weighed at birth. A web-based tracking tool developed by the WHO aims to improve measures of low birth weight to help countries set targets to achieve the SDGs and chart their progress.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Gender gaps in who experiences food insecurity are biased against women in more countries than they are against men. In Pakistan, for example, food insecurity among women is 11 percentage points higher than among men.

The Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES) – a metric on the severity of food insecurity based on people’s responses to simple survey questions – has been developed as part of FAO’s Voices of the Hungry project. The FIES has been applied in the Gallup World Poll® and can measure food insecurity at the individual level, allowing results to be meaningfully disaggregated by gender.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

An estimated 500 million households worldwide rely on smallholder farming, but male and female farmers have different access to agricultural inputs and unequal yields and incomes. In Africa, for example, women make up almost half of the agricultural workforce, yet their productivity is lower than that of men. They often face bigger hurdles in accessing agricultural resources, banking, credit and markets and in owning and controlling land.

The African Smallholder Farmers Group (ASFG) collects regional data on the factors that affect the capacity of smallholder farmers to improve productivity and access markets. The Smallholder Diaries managed by the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) aim to bridge agricultural policymaking and the challenges faced by smallholder farmers by collecting data from interviews conducted every two weeks, generating around 500,000 data points on the lives of smallholder farming families.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

The quality of maternal healthcare and MMRs are higher for poorer women. Unequal access to essential health services also adds to the burden of unpaid work for women and girls who care for sick relatives. Lack of access to quality healthcare also hampers women’s ability to earn a livelihood and close the gap between the richest and poorest households. Research from India has found that unless explicit attention is paid to gender (and its intersectionality with other types of inequality), movement towards universal health coverage can fail to achieve gender balance or improve equity, and may even exacerbate gender inequity.

To monitor where coverage in a given country is universal, the WHO and World Bank developed the Tracking Universal Health Coverage: 2017 Global Monitoring Report, which outlines gaps in essential health services across populations, as well as progress towards universal health coverage. Another promising new approach is the Healthcare Access and Quality (HAQ) Index, developed using the 2016 Global Burden of Diseases study, which aims to provide a stronger indication of personal healthcare access and quality across 195 countries and territories globally.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Women face specific pressures, including discrimination, disadvantage and gender-based violence (GBV). Sexual violence has a disproportionate impact on girls and women and significant effects on their mental health – often untreated due to stigma. It can trigger posttraumatic stress disorder, which affects more women worldwide than men. Unipolar depression, predicted to be the second leading cause of the global disability burden by 2020, is twice as common in women as in men. Yet girls and women may need permission from a male household member to seek treatment for mental health issues, and many who seek treatment report discriminatory attitudes towards their mental health.

As of 2018, only 60 WHO member states had vital registration data of sufficient quality to be used to estimate suicide rates. The WHO suggests vital registration of suicides, hospital-based registries of suicide attempts and nationally representative surveys to collect information about mental health and self-reported suicide attempts to capture a global picture of mental health and suicide.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

The number of births in early adolescence (10-14 years) is a strong measure of the gender inequalities faced by girls. The WHO suggests that they are more likely in marginalized communities where poverty rates are high and girls have limited access to education and employment opportunities. Girls under the age of 15 are at a particularly high risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth as a result of an underdeveloped pelvis, eclampsia, puerperal endometritis and systemic infections. According to research (2013), the MMR is 5 times higher for girls aged 10-14 than for women aged 20-24, and early adolescents are more likely to experience rapid repeat pregnancies.

We lack data for girls aged 10- 14 years. The missing data can be collected or derived retrospectively from census and survey data sources. Some organizations measure factors related to early pregnancy – for example, Girls Not Brides ranks countries on child marriage prevalence (the percentage of women 20-24 years old who were first married or in union before they were 15), based on Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and other national surveys, which otherwise cover only those aged 15 and older.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

An estimated 90% of jobs will soon require skills in ICT, yet the % of women in computing jobs declined between 1991 and 2015, from 36% to 25% (and even lower for women of colour). Yet the world has a shortage of 200 million workers with ICT skills. These skills are particularly empowering for women in their social roles as family caretakers and their production roles, with ICT often reducing the need to travel for work, overcoming barriers to access to information and increasing their economic opportunities, thus contributing to poverty alleviation.

This is an official SDG indicator, SDG 4.4.1 (tier II), though global averages are not yet available and data are only available for 42 countries. The Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development was established in 2004 and has developed a core list of indicators of which 12 are disaggregated by sex (excl. Mobile phone related use and programming skills).

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

According to the UN, up to 2/3 of girls in some countries said they had no idea what was happening to them when they began menstruating, and in 2016 only 1/3 of young women had comprehensive and correct knowledge on how to prevent HIV infection. The Guttmacher Institute has reported that 9/10 teachers surveyed in Ghana taught students that condoms do not prevent pregnancy. SDG 4 provides no specific targets for CSE, but SDG 5 has a target on access to sexual and reproductive health information in the context of health systems, rather than education. This stems from the political dynamics of the SDG agenda negotiations and the cultural and religious sensibilities around CSE.

Current methods of measurement for this issue are based on UNESCO’s guidance, captured in a report that provides voluntary guidelines on CSE, which is available to education ministries. A UNFPA report (2015) on evaluating CSE programmes laid the groundwork for building indicators and variables for an ‘empowerment’ approach to CSE. The report makes the case for universal indicators, with the limited variation in definitions and approaches to CSE offering the potential for an indicator framework.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Early childhood development (ECD) is a cost-effective way to improve adult health, education and productivity. Gender discrimination, combined with son preference, means that young girls receive less nutrition, and fewer opportunities to play and access early learning than young boys, which has impacts on their entire life, i.e. stunting. Equitable ECD can also steer girls into non-traditional gender roles through early socialization, helping them to challenge gender stereotypes.

Universal measures to quantify ECD are lacking, particularly for the youngest children. ECD is covered by an official SDG indicator (SDG 4.2.1), and household surveys such as the UNICEF-supported MICS have collected data on this indicator through the Early Child Development Index (ECDI) in low- and middle-income countries since around 2010, although the data-collection approach is being revisited. Another promising initiative is the WHO 0-3 measurement tool, which aims to develop two harmonized tools to measure child development for children 0-3 years. These tools will allow regional, national and global monitoring as well as programmatic evaluations among children in specific populations of interest.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Improving women’s agency, specifically their ability to define and act upon their own goals, is critical for advancing gender equality. Evidence from Mexico shows that increases in labour market opportunities improve women’s decision-making power as well as children’s health. World Bank research from Pakistan also shows that when a woman has more decision-making power, her household is more likely to spend its income on footwear, clothing, medical care and education.

This indicator is not part of the official SDG framework, but can be measured through the World Values Survey (WVS) and DHS. The 6th WVS covered 60 countries and DHS decision-making modules are widely available, though the methodology behind the survey questions is widely contested.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Data from 45 countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, reveal that only 52% of women aged 15–49 who are married or in a union reported that they make their own decisions about sexual relations and the use of contraceptives. Increased contraceptive use from 1990 to 2008 contributed to 1.7 million fewer maternal deaths, and if the needs for modern contraceptives were fully met there would be an estimated 76,000 fewer maternal deaths each year (2017).

There is an official SDG indicator (tier II), which is measured through DHS and MICS surveys that cover most low- and middle-income countries. The methodology builds on available information from DHS surveys in approximately 70 countries, where the indicator can be disaggregated by location, household wealth quintile and education. The indicator is also disaggregated by method of contraception. The proposal is to add age, marital status (married, in union, unmarried) and disability.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

The Women, Business and the Law 2018 report finds that most of the 189 countries surveyed have at least one law that discriminates against women. 104 economies still have laws that prevent women from working in some specific jobs, 27 countries discriminate against women in their ability to confer nationality to children, and over 60 countries deny women equal rights as men to acquire, change or retain their own nationality, which can result in statelessness that effectively bars women and children from education, voting and from employment opportunities that require proof of citizenship.

One promising approach has been elaborated for use in the official monitoring of SDG 5.1.1 by a consortium including UN Women, OECD’s SIGI and the World Bank’s WBL. The approach uses a questionnaire of 45 yes/no questions in four domains: overarching legal frameworks and public life; violence against women; employment and economic benefits; and marriage and family, with a composite score calculated for each domain to reflect progress on ending discrimination and achieving gender equality. Initial results have been validated using existing sources and governments will submit indicators in the future.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), adopted by the UN in 1979 and ratified by 189 of its 193 member states, is considered an international bill of rights for women. Civil society organizations and women’s groups have used the Convention to hold governments accountable to their formal legal obligations to eliminate discrimination against women.

CEDAW is overseen by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, elected by state parties to CEDAW. All state parties to CEDAW must submit regular reports to the Committee every four years, detailing legislative, judicial, administrative and other measures to implement CEDAW principles at national level. The OECD and UN also facilitate regular regional assessments detailing the best regional practices and challenges of CEDAW implementation.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Girls and women are particularly vulnerable to violence, abuse and even femicide by those closest to them, including family members and intimate partners. This human rights violation also has intergenerational effects: children in families where there is a prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV) are more likely to have subsequent problems with parenting and to maltreat their own children.

The main sources of data on IPV are national surveys dedicated to measuring violence against women and broader surveys that include a module of questions on experiences of violence by women, mainly the DHS. Other surveys also cover violence to a lesser extent, including Reproductive Health Surveys and Crime Victimization Surveys.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Inclusive implementation and governance of WASH policies could boost awareness of the water-related duties carried out by girls and women, which could improve the design of safe, accessible and usable WASH facilities. Given their unique use of and dependence on local water resources, women have knowledge on water location, quality and storage methods to contribute to local WASH management.

There is a lack of data on local WASH administration. The Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for Water Supply and Sanitation reports globally on water supply and the sanitation sector, and its indicator frameworks and baseline estimates for the SDG-related WASH targets and open ‘data drive’ represent promising approaches. The World Bank’s The Rising Tide report includes survey responses on the perceived top priorities for governments in 2017, revealing gender differences in the ways that men and women think about water use and management. The report highlights exclusive initiatives that have had unintended consequences for gender equality. UN Women’s Accountability Framework on Gender, Urban Water and Sanitation assesses women’s empowerment within urban water and sanitation management, proposing a self-assessment tool for mainstreaming gender in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development in the governments of large cities.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

The availability of WASH facilities in schools affects the educational performance of girls – especially those from poor, rural or marginalized families. Research from Bolivia, Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Kenya and Tanzania has documented how the lack of adequate sanitation facilities and MHM interventions in schools can lead to disrupted classroom engagement and absenteeism among girls. Adolescent girls’ ability to meet their MHM needs in school is critical to limit school dropout and enable their lifelong ability to understand and manage menstruation.

Many national governments do not collect the data required to adequately monitor hygiene components of SDG 6. The survey tools for the 6th round of MICS includes a women’s questionnaire with new questions on access to materials and facilities for MHM and non-participation in school, work or social activities during menstruation. These indicators will be routinely tabulated in future survey reports. The new framework for WASH monitoring extends beyond the household with questions on schools and healthcare facilities.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Women are predominantly responsible for using household energy, collecting fuel and cooking in the developing world. Yet they lack opportunities for equitable participation in crafting energy policy and designing energy projects. For clean energy interventions to meet the needs of both female and male household members, they should ensure the meaningful participation of women and men in decision-making processes and throughout the value chain. Women’s participation at all levels of energy policy governance is critical, including on local energy boards, in energy decision-making bodies, in energy enterprises and in national ministries.

The Climate Investment Funds’ checklist for gender-mainstreaming projects includes sample output indicators such as the number/% of women in decision-making bodies, groups and committees, and the number of individuals indirectly employed by firms accessing improved electricity sources, disaggregated by sex. Other promising measurement approaches include intergovernmental initiatives, such as SE4All, and international programmes, such as the Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme’s (ESMAP) Gender programme which maintains a dedicated dashboard on gender and the implementation of energy projects.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Despite modest improvements in some nations over the past 50 years to close the gender gap in household and unpaid labour, women still spend more time than men on unpaid work and housework in every country with available data. Estimates suggest that women perform 75% of the world’s unpaid work, which some economists suggest could amount to between 10-39% of global GDP if it were assigned a monetary value.

The World Bank’s Women, Business, and the Law 2018 report assesses regional and national levels of unpaid work by women, but the data are not disaggregated by care work specifically across all countries. Household-level time-use surveys – which can collect sex-disaggregated data on care for children, the elderly and the sick; collection of fuel and water; household tasks; and paid labour – have been employed successfully by some national governments. For example, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) in Mexico used time-use surveys to value women’s unpaid labour at approximately 20% of GDP in 2012, compared to 6% for men.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Globally, women earn on average only 60-75% of men’s wages. Gender disparities contributing to the wage gap include the likelihood that women will work in part-time jobs, industry segregation (with women more likely to be wage workers and domestic workers), and women’s over-representation in non-unionized sectors that cannot negotiate wage increases. Many of these factors relate to their burden of care work.

Labour Force Surveys provide crucial data about average hourly earnings of female and male employees, and about the gender wage gap. All EU member states are required to conduct a Labour Force Survey annually and the surveys are carried out in an increasing number of non-EU countries. However, Labour Force Surveys are not carried out in all countries. There tends to be less investment in conducting surveys and making them publicly available in developing nations. One benefit of labour force surveys as a measurement approach is that survey questions and modules can be standardized across countries. The Mind the Gap Initiative, which aims to measure pay gaps among private sector companies, suggests that standardization is among the biggest challenges in measuring the gender pay gap, and that measurement methodology should be open-source, publicly available, and uniform.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Sexual harassment, discrimination, and GBV violate women’s rights and undermine their equal participation in the labour force. One study found that such abuses in the workplace increase financial stress and can alter women’s career trajectories. Yet 68 countries – at all income levels – have no workplace protections for women, leaving 424 million with no legal recourse when faced with an abusive supervisor or hostile work environment. Industrial Global Union, an organization representing 50 million workers in 140 countries, finds that women working in industries such as mining, textiles, agriculture and manufacturing are particularly vulnerable to violence in and around their workplaces, and that women cite limited channels to report abuse, fear of losing their jobs and stigmatisation if they report abuse.

The World Bank’s WBL initiative tracks laws that discriminate against women worldwide, including legal frameworks at the national level that address GBV in the workplace. The 2018 report assesses whether there are criminal penalties for sexual harassment in employment and whether there are civil remedies for sexual harassment in employment for each country covered. The World Policy Analysis Center also collects global metrics on dimensions of gender equity in the workplace, including policies and protections against sexual harassment and violence at work in all 193 UN member states.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

When women have access to trade unions, worker organizations, cooperatives and self-help groups they are able to define policy priorities and advance gender equality issues – including on pay and career advancement – in bargaining agendas. UN Women finds that the gender wage gap in the US is 11% for unionized women compared to 22% for those who do not belong to trade unions, and that the wages of women union members in the UK are 30% higher than those of non-unionized women.

The Center for Global Workers’ Rights at Penn State University has recently constructed a new indicator of freedom of association and collective bargaining (FACB) rights with data for 185 ILO member states for 5 years between 2000 and 2015. At present, it is not possible to disaggregate the data by sex or migrant status (as required by SDG indicator 8.8.2). Further disaggregation is technically feasible, but will require additional investment by the ILO.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Parental leave policies are linked to women’s access to the economy and autonomy over career choices. Gender-neutral paid leave policies are used overwhelmingly by women. For example, while Japan has a 14-week paid leave policy, only 2% of fathers take leave, compared to 83% of mothers. ‘Use it or lose it’ paid paternity leave offers non-transferable paternity leave or a period of leave that includes a portion specifically for fathers. In Quebec, where such policies are in place, the percentage of fathers taking paternity leave rose from about 10% in 2001 to more than 80% in 2010.

The World Policy Analysis Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, collects global metrics on dimensions of paid leave policy, child care and unpaid care work, including if paid leave is available for mothers of infants; if paid annual leave is available to workers; and if paid leave is available for fathers of infants. Its report, Paid Parental Leave: A Detailed Look at Approaches Across OECD Countries, identifies and analyses types and duration of paid leave and wage replacement policies.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

SDG 10 stresses the way in which inequalities intersect, requiring measurement of the extent to which laws discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, religion, caste, disability, sexual orientation and many other dimensions. Discriminatory laws and policies compound existing gender inequalities. In Myanmar, for example, laws that restrict interfaith marriage disenfranchise Rohingya ethnic minority women and limit their ability to access legal documents, inherit assets or pursue divorce or child custody.

A promising new measurement approach to monitor the elimination of discrimination against girls and women has been elaborated by a consortium including UN Women, SIGI and the WBL, for use in the official monitoring of SDG 5.1.1. The approach uses a questionnaire comprising 45 yes/no questions in four domains: overarching legal frameworks and public life; violence against women; employment and economic benefits; and marriage and family. A composite score will be calculated for each domain. These scores will reflect progress towards ending discrimination and achieving gender equality. Initial results have been validated using existing sources and national governments will submit indicators in the future.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Subjective experiences of discrimination and bias can hamper women’s ability to realize their rights and undermine their productivity. A Pew research study, for example, found that “women are about 3 times as likely as men (19% vs 7%) to say their gender has made it harder for them to succeed at their job.”

The World Justice Project measures rule-of-law adherence in 113 countries based on more than 110,000 household and 3,000 expert surveys. The Project uses this considerable data collection to calculate a Rule of Law Index measuring performance across eight factors, one of which measures the protection of fundamental human rights firmly established under the Universal Declaration and closely related to rule of law.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Studies show that progress has often been made among the groups that are easiest to reach or whose situations are the easiest to resolve, often leaving the poorest and most vulnerable behind. Inequalities between groups, whether they are political, social or economic, have profound implications for social stability and the incidence of conflict, as well as for human well-being. A 2017 study by the Centre for Global Development on indicators measuring poverty, undernourishment, access to safe drinking water and access to electricity found no disaggregated data, with data on other indicators disaggregated across two metrics at most. None of the indicators intended to represent the bare minimum of ‘leaving no one behind’ had data disaggregated by income, race, ethnicity, migratory status or disability.

UN Women’s 2018 report contains extensive analysis of intersecting discrimination in Chapter 4. UNICEF’s MICS (a household survey programme that has been carried out in more than 100 countries to generate data on the situation of children and women) disaggregates some data by sex, age, region, ethnicity and other measures. For example, Save the Children used MICS data from Ghana to show how some groups from different ethnicities and religions bear far greater shares of deprivation than other groups.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Where communities face slow-onset events, such as rising sea levels or increasing droughts and desertification, some respond by migrating. Women, particularly poor and marginalized women, are far more likely to be ‘trapped’ at home. In the flood-prone Kurigram District of Bangladesh, for example, many female headed households lack the resources to migrate.

Migration policies could be reviewed for gender inclusion, including support for female-headed households that remain behind. In addition, the Global Compact on Migration, (December 2018), offers an opportunity to track progress. Specific displacement numbers can be compiled from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) annual Global Report on Internal Displacement and their database, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), and the reports released on Relief Web.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

The impact of climate change will be experienced acutely and increasingly in the poorest regions of the world, where women grow a significant proportion of the food on the most marginal land with less access to inputs such as seeds, fertilisers and water. In Vietnam, for example, it has been found that female headed households report 20% lower rice yields than male-headed households as a result of limited water supplies. According to the FAO in 2011, if women’s agricultural activities were supported on an equal basis with men’s, global agricultural production would increase by 10-14%, decreasing the population of those going hungry by 100 million.

FAO undertook a ten-country exercise to pilot the methodology for collecting data on SDG Indicator 5.a.2 (Proportion of countries where the legal framework (including customary law) guarantees women’s equal rights to land ownership and/or control), with countries expected to report on this indicator every two years starting from 2018.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Women and men often have different perceptions of climate change, and engaging them both makes it possible to harness diverse knowledge and experiences. Women’s participation can lead to better environmental outcomes, but this is difficult to measure.

The IUCN Global Gender Office undertook a gender audit on 192 national energy frameworks from 37 countries, which identifies the involvement of women’s ministries and organizations. In addition, references to women’s participation in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) could be assessed alongside the assessment of gender inclusion, and could be expanded to Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs), National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs), and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), in conjunction with partners such as WEDO already working in this area. Alternatively, countries could be surveyed, via their gender focal points, for their participation policies as part of a gender action plan. This information could be supplemented by data collection from women’s organizations on the impact of such policies.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Strong institutions contribute to a culture in which sexual violence is less accepted and girls and women have recourse. Yet 37 countries worldwide still have legal loopholes that excuse rape in marriage or if a perpetrator marries the victim. Investigation of sexual violence cases is critical in nations emerging from conflict, where the legacy of sexual violence includes unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, stigmatization and psychological trauma.

One promising measurement approach is the Violence Against Children Surveys (VACS), led by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as part of the Together for Girls partnership. The VACS measure rates of physical, emotional and sexual violence against girls and boys around the world through survey tools, publishing findings in country reports. The Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) provides technical advice to the International Crimes Division of the High Court to facilitate compliance with good practices in handling cases of sexual violence and GBV, including studies of redress for GBV in transitional justice and drafting the Guidance Note of the UN Secretary General on Reparations for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

More than 1/3 girls in some countries report that their first sexual encounter was coerced. Most girls report this first happened during adolescence – a time when girls are more vulnerable to sexual violence and suffer unique long-term consequences, including mental and physical health issues, stigma and shame, unintended pregnancy, and complications during pregnancy and childbirth, as well as higher risks of IPV and exploitation (including sex work) in adult life.

The UN’s SDG Indicators Global Database suggests household surveys as a way to measure the number of people who report having experienced sexual violence by age 18. However, there are issues on the accuracy of survey data, given the likelihood of under-reporting, and such data are unavailable in the WHO’s Global Health Observatory data repository for many countries. The WHO report Global and Regional Estimates of Violence Against Women assesses individual country information on sexual violence, as does the UN Women Global Database on Violence Against Women. UNICEF’s report A Familiar Face: Violence in the Lives of Children and Adolescents uses available data to assess sexual violence in childhood and adolescence. Governments’ commitments on this issue are reflected in their adoption and implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, with most of the 74 countries and territories with NAPs including protection from GBV.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

The inclusion of women and civil society groups in peace negotiations makes resulting agreements 64% less likely to fail and 35% more likely to last at least 15 years, according to data from 1989-2011. Yet, women make up only 4% of signatories to peace agreements and, as of 2015, only 3% of UN military peacekeepers and 10% of UN police personnel were women. Data from 39 countries reveal that women are more likely to report GBV to female police officers and peacekeeping personnel, and the establishment of female security forces in conflict and post-conflict countries is one way to mitigate sexual violence and reduce abuses by security bodies.

A promising approach is the Women, Peace and Security Index 2017-18, which has used international data sources to rank 153 countries on measures of women’s inclusion, security, well-being and access to justice.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

When countries spend a lower % of GDP on essential healthcare services, more pregnant and post-natal women and newborns are put at risk. When governments invest more in early education, childcare and other social care, women are better able to make autonomous decisions about their time use and engage in productive economic activities. Social infrastructure and social assistance programmes can also reduce inequalities. The South African Child Support Grant (CSG) assistance programme has become one of the most comprehensive social protection systems in the developing world since 1998. The grants have had a strong impact for girls, with early receipt of the grant increasing their grade attainment by a quarter of a grade.

The ILO’s World Social Protection Report 2017-19 includes all public social security and social protection schemes or programmes. Regional and multilateral banks also track government spending by percentages. The IMF World Economic Outlook is the best source for GDP and total government spending figures. The information is compiled from a mix of these sources by Oxfam and Development Finance International’s 2017 Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index (CRI), which uses a ‘tax potential’ measure of tax effort across several development measures.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

While progressive taxation such as income tax ensures that the wealthiest pay more, regressive taxation, such as VAT, is payable by consumers – very often the women who buy household basics. With women earning less than men, VAT and other regressive forms of taxation can cut into their already reduced resources.

Oxfam’s CRI is the first Index to measure the commitment of governments to reducing the gap between the rich and the poor, including through progressive tax policies. The CRI Index in 2017 used a ‘tax potential’ measure of tax effort across several development measures. The International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD) also tracks taxation in developing countries, and particularly in Africa, including a focus on the gender implications of taxes paid. The ICTD’s online tools survey the representation of women in African tax administrations and the differing impacts of taxation on men and women.

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Inclusive trade policies can advance gender equality through gender-related assessments of trade measures or the inclusion of gender stipulations, i.e. increasing women’s economic participation. The Peru Free Trade Agreement includes a mechanism on the “development of programmes on gender issues, including the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.” Trade reforms that do not include gender provisions can exacerbate gender inequalities, as women may lack access to the new jobs created as well as markets.

At the 2017 WTO Ministerial Conference, 118 WTO members and observers agreed to support the Joint Declaration on Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment, which aims to increase gender responsiveness in trade policies. Other promising approaches include UNCTAD’s methodology for gender-related assessments of trade reforms. The European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality track gender provisions in EU trade agreements and advocate for gender equality objectives in new trade agreements. Yet, as of January 2018 only 20% of EU trade agreements mention women’s rights.

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