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With only 41 per cent of countries regularly producing data on violence against women and only 13 per cent of countries having a dedicated gender statistics budget, the first-ever United Nations World Data Forum recently explored ways to close these data gaps.

According to the Director of Policy Division at the UN Purna Sen,”Gender statistics are critical for setting priorities, planning interventions and assessing their impacts. They can put a spotlight on inequality and women and girls who are left behind.”

The panel, titled ‘Gender Data for Decision-making: Strengthening the Links,’ was among the nearly 100 sessions and parallel events scheduled throughout the 15-18 January gathering in Cape Town, South African, of more than 1,400 data experts around the world.

Ms. Sen said that when the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted in September 2015, UN Women, formally known as the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, faced “a hard truth:” difficulty monitoring the overwhelming majority of the gender-related targets.

Noting that the global statistical community has made substantial progress in recent years in the area of gender statistics, including strong normative and technical advances, better coordination, more and better technical resources and innovative programmes, she said that lots of challenges remain.

Gender statistics are often not prioritized because of a number of factors linked to the lack of political will, particularly in politically charged areas such as violence against women that, frankly speaking, can make a government look bad, she added.

Ms. Sen also pointed out that gender specialists often do not understand statistics and statisticians do not always understand gender.

Based on the latest data from OECD-DAC, only two per cent of funds for statistical capacity building are dedicated to projects whose principal objectives are to strengthen gender statistics, she said.

“Data are simply not useful if they are not used”

At an event during the 71st session of the UN General Assembly, UN Women launched a flagship initiative on gender statistics, “Making Every Woman and Girl Count,” which aims to effect a radical shift in the availability, accessibility and use of quality data and statistics on key aspects of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The initiative support efforts to conduct an assessment of gender statistics and identify gender data gaps, mainstream gender in national strategies for producing statistics, and developing national plans to localize gender-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets and indicators.

The initiative also aims to ensure that data are accessible to all users, including governments, civil society, academia and the private sector, and can be analyzed to inform research, advocacy, policies and programmes and promote accountability.

“Data are simply not useful if they are not used,” she said, explaining that this is the area where capacities are extremely weak and a lot of work and efforts are needed by all stakeholders.

Emily Courey-Pryor, Executive Director of Data2X, who moderated the discussion, said that “we will only be able to truly promote gender equality, alleviate poverty, and advance development progress if we improve gender data.”

Source: UN News Service

On the sidelines of the 71st United Nations General Assembly, UN Women have recently unveiled a report by 10 global universities that lays out their concrete commitments and charts their progress towards achieving gender parity.

The first-ever “HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 University Parity Report” highlights three important imbalances that universities can address: the ratio of men to women represented in university faculty and senior administrative positions; the fields of study selected by young women versus young men; and the number of female students at universities compared with their equal access to academic and professional career tracks.

“Each generation of university students that emerges from these formative years of education is a new chance for the world to make progress,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, in a press release. “Now that our IMPACT Champions are leading such well-targeted initiatives to tackle current barriers to gender equality, we can look to these cadres of HeForShe graduates, and the changing profiles of academia, with renewed hope.”

The group of 10 IMPACT universities spans across eight countries on five continents: Georgetown University, United States; Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), France; Nagoya University, Japan; Stony Brook University, United States; University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong; the University of Leicester, United Kingdom; University of Oxford, United Kingdom; University of São Paulo, Brazil; University of Waterloo, Canada; and University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

UNESCO and UN Women have come together to promote the expansion of proposals that would promote equal opportunity and eliminate sexual harassment, gender inequality and abuse throughout boardrooms, classrooms, and society in general.

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Irina Bokova, Director-General, United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)

At a press briefing for the HeForShe Impact 10x10x10 initiative at the UN Headquarters, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson highlighted the steps toward equal opportunity and the elimination of violence, along with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.

Launched in 2015, the HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative convenes 10 heads of state, 10 global chief executive officers and 10 university presidents to fast-track gender equality in boardrooms, classrooms and world capitals. The release of today’s report marks the completion of the first year in the initiative for participating universities.

In the report, University HeForShe IMPACT Champions present transparent baseline figures on the representation of women across their student and faculty populations against which future progress will be measured and published on an annual basis. This dataset includes women at undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as in faculty and senior leadership roles.

In total, the 10 universities have committed to monitoring their progress on 30 commitments. Some 70 per cent of IMPACT Champions have committed to closing the gender gap in administration; 40 per cent have committed to closing the gender gap in academia; 30 per cent have committed to creating centres of excellence in gender equality; and 40 per cent have committed to ending violence on campus.

“Sustainable development is not possible and peace will not be lasting, without empowering every girl and woman,” said Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). “I see the face of the new global agenda as that of a 12-year-old girl, in school, not forced into marriage or work. It is the face of a 20-year-old woman, at university, creating and sharing knowledge. This is the importance of the HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 Initiative.”

UN Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, who participated in the launch of the HeForShe movement in 2014, and also took part in the report launch today, noted that, “A good university is like a tiny utopia – it’s a miniature model of how the whole of society could look. All our IMPACT Champions have chosen to make gender parity a central part of the way they educate their students.”

Created by UN Women, the HeForShe movement for gender equality provides a targeted platform on which men and boys can engage and become change agents towards the achievement of gender equality.

Source: un.org