Better data on women is essential to achieve the development goals
World leaders have called for more investment in solutions that advance the health, rights, and well-being of girls and women at
Women Deliver 2016
, the largest international conference to advocate for girls’ and women’s development which took place in Copenhagen. “Investing in gender equality–and in girls’ and women’s health–is investing in human progress,” said Katja Iversen, CEO of Women Deliver. “A woman multiplies investments made in her future by creating a better life for herself and her family, community and society.” In response to this call to action, the
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
used the conference to announce that it is committing US$80 million over three years to build a more accurate data profile of girls and women, something that is seen as an essential precursor to more informed policies and programmes. “It’s great that women and girls are at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals but right now there is insufficient data to build a baseline for nearly 80 percent of SDG 5 indicators,” said Melinda Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, during the plenary session of the conference. “If advocacy for women and girls is about giving voice to the voiceless–gathering and analysing data is about making the invisible visible.” The Gates Foundation said that it plans to allocate these finances towards improving the accuracy and reliability of data collection, equipping decision makers with better evidence to support their decisions, and supporting the efforts of civil society organisations to hold leaders accountable for their commitments. During
Women Deliver 2016
, the McKinsey Global Institute released a discussion paper entitled ‘
Delivering the power of parity: Toward a more gender-equal society
‘, which aims to provide an agenda for action and investment toward greater gender equality. The paper pinpoints six areas where improved access to services could unlock economic opportunities for women: education, family planning, maternal health, financial inclusion, digital inclusion, and assistance with unpaid care work. It also suggests that achieving the economic potential of women through the
Sustainable Development Goals
will require US$2 trillion in annual spending on essential services in 2025–but that the potential economic gains could be six to eight times this outlay. Previous research by the Institute found that if every country bridged its gender gap the world could add US$12 trillion to annual GDP in 2025, an 11 percent boost over current trends. “Narrowing the gender gap can unleash massive growth but in order to realise the US$12 trillion opportunity that comes from advancing gender equality in the world of work, we have to tackle gender gaps in society more broadly,” said Vivian Hunt, managing partner of McKinsey’s United Kingdom and Ireland offices.
By Adam Pitt
Photo: Women Deliver