The term ‘data literacy’ is currently a mainstream term and potential buzzword of ‘Data Revolution’ discussions, as experts, policymakers and advocates consider what it would take to enable citizens to make better use of the vast amount of data available to them. Statistical and data literacy has always been essential for everyone as consumers, users, producers and critics of information from data. But never has there been more data and more information than now – good, bad, fake and false. So how can we assist governments, citizens and business to use, interpret, critique and even produce data and statistical information for their well-being and decision-making?
The advocacy of many years from statisticians on the data handling and investigation process still applies, but now not only can this not be ignored, but it must now be extended, expanded, and, most importantly, explicitly espoused in new contexts and embedded in technology. Data capture is increasing exponentially and the technology to refine this data is completely changing business models and the way we live and interact. Data use and analytics are in-demand skills for employment that will only increase over time. Data in new fields have emerged such as Gender Statistics that would need to be mainstreamed not only in national statistical systems, but to a wider range of users and advocates of gender equality. Policymakers have advocated for more data science skills-training and outreach user-friendly programs. Schools and non-profit organizations (such as Code for America, Girls Who Code, School of Data, etc.) have emerged to tackle the digital divide by providing coding programs and technical curricula for vulnerable populations, specifically for women and minorities. In addition an increasing number of data journalists are using and writing about data. Open data and civic technology advocates have organized hackathons for civic hackers to use technical skills and foster new conversations on data for social good.
Main outcomes. This session examines what is needed to progress data literacy for the well-being for individuals and across all of society in today’s world of a deluge of data and information. How might ‘data literacy’ promotion empower individuals and communities to keep governments accountable, solve local problems, and navigate their own data ecosystems? In a world of abundant digital connectivity and rising inequity, should we in fact be concerned with and talking about data inclusion?