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A guide to the manual

Modified on 2013/05/08 12:31 by Administrator Paths: Read in Order Categorized as Chapter 1 - An overview on Gender statistics
  • + Background: Existing manuals and training resources on gender statistics
    • The development of methodological materials on gender statistics has a rather short history. Compared to other types of statistics, fewer manuals and training resources have been dedicated to the development of gender statistics. The United Nations Statistics Division led many of the technical developments in the field of gender statistics, mainly during the period from 1975 to 1995, before the Fourth World Conference on Women (United Nations, 2010). The Division provided leadership in the production of technical materials and the compilation of statistics on women and men. Although the materials and statistical databases have always been focused on gender, most often the guidelines produced included in the title only the word “women”. The work covered three major domains: (a) concepts and methods for improving gender statistics, with a special focus on statistics on work; (b) compilation of gender indicators and developing gender statistical databases; and (c) use of household surveys for improving gender statistics and indicators (see “References” for the list of publications).

      The Fourth World Conference on Women, held in 1995, adopted the Beijing Platform for Action, which is considered, still, “the most comprehensive set of guidelines for the development of gender statistics at all levels, national, regional, and global” (United Nations, 2010). After Beijing, many global and regional agencies embarked on producing technical materials on gender statistics. But only a small number of comprehensive manuals have dealt with the production and analysis of gender statistics. Soon after Beijing, and as a result of years of training in gender statistics provided by international agencies to developing countries, two comprehensive manuals have been developed about at the same time. One manual, titled Engendering Statistics. A tool for Change, was published by Statistics Sweden in 1996 (Hedman et al, 1996). The manual was the first to use as framework the gender statistics production process and to draw attention to the importance of gender mainstreaming at all stages of data production. The manual highlighteds the importance of gender issues as well as conceptual and measurement issues in developing adequate gender statistics in all statistical fields; and the importance of user-producer cooperation in developing a comprehensive programme on gender statistics. The other manual, a Handbook for Producing National Statistical Reports on Women and Men, was published by the United Nations, in 1997. This second manual provided guidance in producing gender-focused analytical publications and integrated data analysis and data presentation for a series of subject matter topics related to gender. Following this model, national statistical offices from many countries in the world have produced publications on women and men.

      After Beijing, a great deal of work on gender statistics developed by global and regional agencies has focused on producing gender indicators, perhaps for two reasons. First, there has been a need for monitoring at global and regional level the progress of countries in achieving gender equality goals. This development should also be seen in the larger context of producing indicators for measuring progress in human development, after the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development, in 1995, and, afterward, progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals in the 2000s. Second, at national level, there has been an increased demand for gender statistics and indicators to support policy making as well as to measure gender-related achievements of development projects, including the participation of women and men in those projects. Gender indicators on input, participation in the project and output of the projects have been the focus of many agencies involved with development projects. As a result, a lot of effort has been put in compilation and dissemination of gender statistics and indicators and methodological work on calculation of indicators. Although limitations due to data quality and limitations of indicators themselves in measuring progress have been acknowledged most of the time, there has not been much concern about how the basic data needed to calculate indicators are produced or how the coverage of gender issues in data collection can be improved in the national statistical offices. The products of dissemination of gender statistics and indicators have diversified recently, and include the use of platforms such as Gender Info (developed by the United Nations) or Agri-Gender Statistics Toolkit (developed by FAO).

      Furthermore, most recent guidelines and manuals on data collections developed by specialized United Nations and other international agencies in their specific fields of interest tend to incorporate a gender perspective. Some examples would include the Principles and Recommendations for population and Housing Censuses produced by the United Nations in 2008; the 2000 World Bank manual on Designing Household Survey Questionnaires for Developing Countries; the 2001 and 2007 FAO guidelines on agricultural censuses or surveys; methodological papers on gender and labour statistics developed by ILO; and Eurostat guidelines on living conditions surveys. Some of the agencies have also been involved in an active process of gender mainstreaming in data collection in some countries. For example, regional offices of UNFPA, UNIFEM and FAO have worked with developing countries in Asia and Africa to integrate a gender perspective in data collection in censuses and surveys (UNFPA 2004; FAO, 2005).

      The integration of a gender perspective in some other data collection manuals has been driven by a close link between the subject matter of data collection and issues of gender inequality or issues specific to women. Some examples are: methodological work on time use surveys by United Nations, Eurostat and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe; measurement of maternal mortality through censuses and surveys by UNICEF, WHO, United Nations, and academic groups; and development of violence against women surveys by WHO, United Nations, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

      Methodological work has rarely focused on the use of gender statistics in analytical background reports for policy making. Nonetheless, two strong examples of integrating a gender perspective in data analysis for policy making are: A Sourcebook for Poverty Reduction Strategies produced in 2002 by the World Bank (see Bamberger et al, 2002); and Population Situation Analysis: A Conceptual and Methodological Guide, produced by UNFPA in 2010.

      The most up to date comprehensive manual on gender statistics was produced in 2010 by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and the World Bank Institute - Developing gender statistics: A Practical Tool. The manual is mainly addressed to statisticians in countries with a developed statistical system and is focused in great detail on gender statistics in selected areas of concern. Some of the areas covered introduce new emerging topics in gender statistics such as entrepreneurship, access to assets, and social exclusion. Compared to previous methodological work on gender statistics, two other novel elements stand out. First, the manual is complemented by multimedia presentations on gender statistics, available on line, which can be used as training tools. Second, the manual dedicates a chapter on discussing, from an organizational and financial point of view, specific steps and actions to start or strengthen an existing gender statistics programme.

  • + Purpose and audience of this manual
    • The purpose of this manual is to provide methodological and analytical information necessary to improve the availability, quality, and use of gender statistics in countries with less developed statistical systems. The approach and the structure of the manual are constructed around the concept of gender mainstreaming in national statistics. As explained in one of the previous sections, mainstreaming a gender perspective in statistics means that gender issues and gender-based biases are taken into account systematically, in the production of all official statistics and at all stages of data production. This strategic process ensures that (a) national statistical systems regularly collect, analyse and disseminate data that address relevant gender issues; (b) gender-sensitive concepts and methods are used in data collection in all statistical fields; and (c) presentation and dissemination of gender statistics aim to reach a wide range of users, including policy-makers, advocates, researchers and analysts whose primary concerns are not necessarily focused on gender.

      In the more developed regions, gender is already mainstreamed in the production of many national statistical systems, and the quality of gender statistics is ensured through overall quality frameworks for statistics. However, in the less developed regions, many countries are still struggling to produce on a regular basis quality data that can be used to tackle relevant gender issues. This manual addresses the latter case. Since the 1996 manual on engendering statistics produced by Statistics Sweden pointed out the importance of gender mainstreaming in national statistical systems, the issue has been only shortly addressed, mainly in United Nations materials and publications such as Gender and Statistics Briefing Notes (produced by the United Nations Statistics Division in 2001); Gender Mainstreaming. An Overview (produced by the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues in 2002); and more recently, in The World’s Women 2005. Progress in Statistics (produced by the United Nations Statistics Division in 2006). Thus, this manual aims to fulfil a need, unmet yet, for more guidance on bridging between gender issues, gender statistics and sources of data; on how to increase data quality by incorporating a gender perspective in data collection programmes; and how to ensure a wider range of audiences by improving the presentation of gender statistics and their dissemination in regular publications.

      The manual is targeted primarily to statisticians working in less developed national statistical systems and it can be used as resource material for training in gender statistics. The next three chapters in the manual would help statisticians to: (a) improve the coverage of gender issues in statistics, as well as the quality of statistics, on a wide range of topics (see Chapter 2); (b) incorporate a gender perspective into the design of surveys or censuses, by taking into account gender issues and gender-biases in measurement (see Chapter 3); and (c) improve data analysis and data presentation and deliver gender statistics in a format easy to use by policy makers and planners (see chapter 4). The manual may also be useful for data users who wish to be able to interpret statistics correctly; and to understand the problems involved in the production of gender statistics and thus have a more efficient dialogue with data producers.

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