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A guide to the present manual

Modified on 2015/05/01 13:54 by Sean Zheng 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, few 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, Economic and Social Council, 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 focused on gender, most often the guidelines produced included only the word “women” in the title. The work covered three major domains: (a) improving concepts and methods for gender statistics, with a special focus on statistics on work; (b) compiling gender indicators and developing gender statistical databases; and (c) using household surveys to improve gender statistics and indicators (see the reference list at the end of this chapter for the list of publications).

      The Beijing Platform for Action, adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women, in 1995, is still considered the most comprehensive set of guidelines for the development of gender statistics at all levels, national, regional and global (United Nations, Economic and Social Council, 2010). After Beijing, many global and regional agencies embarked on producing technical materials on gender statistics. However, only a small number of manuals comprehensively covered 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 were developed. The first manual, entitled Engendering Statistics: A Tool for Change, was published by Statistics Sweden in 1996. This manual was the first to use as a framework the gender statistics production process and to draw attention to the importance of gender mainstreaming at all stages of data production. It highlighted 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 second manual, entitled Handbook for Producing National Statistical Reports on Women and Men, was published by the United Nations, in 1997. This 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 around the world have produced publications on women and men.

      After Beijing, a great deal of the 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 to monitor, at the global and regional levels, countries’ progress in achieving gender equality goals. This development should also be seen in the broader context of producing indicators for measuring progress in human development following the adoption of the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development in 1995 and, later, progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals in the 2000s. Second, at the national level, there has been an increase in demand at the national level for gender statistics and indicators with a view to supporting policymaking and measuring the gender-related achievements of development projects, including the participation of women and men in such projects. Gender indicators on input, project participation and project output have been the focus of many agencies involved with development projects. As a result, a great deal of effort has been put into the compilation and dissemination of gender statistics and indicators and methodological work on the calculation of indicators. Although limitations due to poor data quality and the limitations of indicators themselves in measuring progress have most of the time been acknowledged, little attention has been paid to how the basic data needed to calculate indicators are produced or how the coverage of gender issues in data collection can be improved in national statistical offices. The products of the dissemination of gender statistics and indicators have diversified recently and include the use of such platforms as Gender Info 2007, developed by the United Nations, and the Agri-Gender Statistics Toolkit, developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

      Furthermore, most recent guidelines and manuals on data collection developed by specialized agencies of the United Nations and other international agencies in their specific fields of interest tend to incorporate a gender perspective. Examples include Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses (United Nations, 2008); the World Bank manual Designing Household Survey Questionnaires for Developing Countries: Lessons from 15 years of the Living Standards Measurement Study (Grosh and Glewwe, 2000); the FAO guidelines entitled “Agricultural Censuses and Gender Considerations: Concept and Methodology” (2001) and A System of Integrated Agricultural Censuses and Surveys (2007); the methodological papers on gender and labour statistics developed by the International Labour Organization (ILO); and the Eurostat guidelines on living conditions surveys. Some agencies have also been involved in an active process of gender mainstreaming in data collection in some countries. For example, regional offices of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the former United Nations Development Fund for Women (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, Country Technical Services Team for South and West Asia, 2004; FAO, Regional Office for Africa, 2005). A more recent effort by UNFPA, in collaboration with United Nations Statistics Division and United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) has been focused on the analysis of census data with a gender perspective. (UNFPA, Technical Division, 2014).

      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. Examples include the methodological work on time-use surveys by the United Nations, Eurostat and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE); the measurement of maternal mortality through censuses and surveys by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations and academic groups; and the development of violence against women surveys by WHO, the United Nations, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and UNECE.

      Methodological work has rarely focused on the use of gender statistics in analytical background reports for policymaking. Nonetheless, two good examples of publications that do address integrating a gender perspective in data analysis for policymaking are the World Bank Publication A Sourcebook for Poverty Reduction Strategies, Vol.1, Core Techniques and Cross-cutting Issues (Klugman, 2002), especially the chapter on gender (Bamberger and others, 2002), and Population Situation Analysis: A Conceptual and Methodological Guide (UNFPA Technical Division, 2010).

      The most up-to-date comprehensive manual on gender statistics is the manual entitled “Developing gender statistics: a practical tool”. (UNECE and World Bank Institute, 2010) The manual is addressed primarily to statisticians in countries with developed statistical systems and focuses 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 online, which can be used as training tools. Second, the manual dedicates an entire chapter to discussing, from an organizational and financial point of view, specific steps and actions for starting a new, or strengthening an existing, gender statistics programme.

  • + Purpose and audience of this manual
    • The purpose of the present manual is to provide the methodological and analytical information necessary to improving the availability, quality and use of gender statistics in countries with less developed statistical systems. The approach and structure of the manual are based on the concept of gender mainstreaming in national statistics. As explained earlier in this chapter, mainstreaming a gender perspective in statistics means ensuring that gender issues and gender-based biases are systematically taken into account, in the production of all official statistics and at all stages of data production. This strategic process ensures (a) that national statistical systems regularly collect, analyse and disseminate data that address relevant gender issues; (b) that gender-sensitive concepts and methods are used in data collection in all statistical fields; and (c) that the presentation and dissemination of gender statistics aim to reach a wide range of users, including policymakers, 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 by way of 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. Since the manual Engendering Statistics: A Tool for Change (Hedman, Perucci and Sundström) produced by Statistics Sweden in 1996 pointed out the importance of gender mainstreaming in national statistical systems, the issue has been addressed only briefly, primarily in United Nations materials and publications such as the gender and statistics briefing notes produced by the United Nations Statistics Division (United Nations, 2001), the manual entitled “Gender mainstreaming: an overview produced by the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues of the Department of Economics and Social Affairs of the Secretariat (United Nations, 2002) and, more recently, the publication The World’s Women 2005: Progress in Statistics (United Nations, 2006). The aim of the present manual, therefore, is to fulfil an as yet unmet need for more guidance on how to build bridges between gender issues, gender statistics and sources of data; how to improve data quality by incorporating a gender perspective in data collection programmes; and how to ensure a wider audience by improving the presentation of gender statistics and their dissemination in regular publications.

      The present manual is targeted primarily at statisticians working in less developed national statistical systems and can be used as resource material for training in gender statistics. The following three chapters of the manual should help statisticians: (a) to improve the coverage of gender issues in statistics, as well as the quality of statistics, on a wide range of topics (see chapter II); (b) to incorporate a gender perspective into the design of surveys and censuses, by taking into account gender issues and gender bias in measurement (see chapter III); and (c) to improve data analysis and data presentation and to deliver gender statistics in a format that is easy to use by policymakers and planners (see chapter IV). 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 therefore have a more efficient dialogue with data producers.

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