Chapter 2 - Introduction

Modified on 2015/05/21 09:00 by Sean Zheng — Categorized as: Chapter 2 - Bringing gender issues into statistics

Gender statistics are more than data disaggregated by sex. Although very important in obtaining gender statistics, disaggregation of statistics by sex is only one of the means of integrating a gender perspective in statistics. As explained in chapter I, gender statistics have to adequately reflect problems, issues and questions related to women and men in society. Therefore, besides disaggregating data by sex, four other elements are particularly important in producing gender statistics. First, the statistics have to reflect problems, issues and questions related to women and men in society. This element is taken into account in two ways: (a) by focusing on certain areas of concern where women and men may not enjoy the same opportunities or status (such as work status in the labour market and higher education) or where women’s and men’s lives may be affected in different ways (such as maternal mortality, domestic violence and occupational injuries); and (b) by taking into account specific population groups where gender inequality is likely to be present or more pronounced. Second, the concepts, definitions and measurement used should allow for an adequate reflection of women’s and men’s status, gender roles and relations in society. Third, data collection tools should take into account stereotypes and social and cultural factors that may introduce gender bias into data. Fourth, analyses and presentation of data should reveal meaningful differences and similarities between women and men.

This chapter focuses on the first three key elements in producing gender statistics, namely, coverage of gender issues, disaggregation of data by sex and other variables to show gender inequality at the level of specific population groups in a society and gender-specific conceptual and measurement issues. The other two key elements in producing gender statistics are discussed in chapters III and IV. Chapter III focuses on integrating a gender perspective in data collection, while chapter IV focuses on data analysis, construction of indicators and presentation of data that would reveal meaningful gender differences or similarities.

Sources: Hedman, Perucci and Sundström (1996). United Nations (2002) and United Nations, Economic Commission for Europe, and World Bank Institute (2010).


Hedman, Birgitta, Francesca Perucci and Pehr Sundström (1996). Engendering Statistics: A Tool for Change. Stockholm: Statistics Sweden.

United Nations (1996). Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 4-15 September 1995. Sales No. E.96.IV.13. Chapter I, resolution 1, annex II.

___ (2002). Gender mainstreaming: an overview. Available from

___ (2006). The World’s Women 2005: Progress in Statistics. Series K, No.17. Sales No. E.05.XVII.7.

___, Economic Commission for Europe, and World Bank Institute (2010). Developing gender statistics: a practical tool. Geneva. ECE/CES/8.