Use + Remix

Special Report

Missing women, missing data


Data on women isn’t what it should be. : Michael Joiner, 360info Data on women isn’t what it should be. : Michael Joiner, 360info


Our world has a gender gap problem.

Societies have been largely designed by men for men, from voting rights and access to healthcare, to pay gaps, parental leave, car safety, and even toilet access.

To better understand the lives of women and make better, more equal policy decisions, we need numbers and data to help paint a better picture. But more often than not, that data doesn’t exist, and we only have a partial understanding of the lives of women and girls around the world.

This lack of data can have potentially fatal consequences for half of the global population – how can we fix or track a problem without fully understanding it in the first place?


More than 75 percent of gender related data is over a decade old.

The rate of informal employment for women is higher than men’s in the lower-income countries.

The pandemic is widening the poverty gap between men and women.

Women’s learning, thinking, cognitive processing and problem-solving can be different compared to men’s, but most educational processes do not take this into account.

Heart disease affects men and women, but often goes undetected, undiagnosed, or undertreated in women. This is referred to as the ‘Yentl syndrome‘.

Gender biases get built into machine learning system algorithms and can discriminate against women’s access to finance, employment, and healthcare.

Nations with fewer laws targeting women tend to have better access to resources and opportunities across genders



Quote attributable to Leah Ruppaner from the University of Melbourne:

“Language is a really powerful tool that we can use to open and close doors based on gender.”

Quote attributable to Leah Ruppaner, University of Melbourne:

“Validating women’s experiences is powerful in itself because it stops the person feeling hopeless about themselves.”

Quote attributable to Yolanda Riveros Morales, Monash University:

In regards to gendered-based sexual violence in conflict situations: “We don’t know the numbers we only know the tip of the iceberg of what is really happening there.”

“We need data not only to analyse what has been happening in the last 20 years in [conflict-ridden] countries, but also how you can help those women. How can we fix the problem.”


Limited gender data deepens inequalities
Ronald Musizvingoza and Claudia Abreu Lopes, United Nations University
Without accurate and timely gender data, resources may be wasted in programs that do not work.

Women fish too: invisible women in tuna industries
Kate Barclay, University of Technology Sydney
The assumption that the tuna fishing industry is a man’s world is not only misleading, but also damaging.

Flexible working in Malaysia does not benefit women
Syaza Shukri, International Islamic University Malaysia
Flexible workplace policies may help improve gender gaps in employment but they might weaken women’s position in the labour market.

What we don’t know about women as ‘weapons of war’
Yolanda Riveros-Morales and Jacqui True, Monash University
We still don’t know how widespread and systematic the use of sexual violence is as a ‘weapon of war’.

Science has a data problem and it continues to harm women
Lavanya Vijayasingham, UNU-IIGH
Women died needlessly from being excluded from clinical trials.

Without data Indonesia’s gender equality promise falters
Antik Bintari, Padjadjaran University Indonesia
Missing gender data means Indonesia’s development programs are mistargeted, hindering gender mainstreaming goals enacted 22 years ago.

Psychological abuse is underreported, and the effects are damaging
Kristin Diemer, Melbourne University
Psychological abuse is often ignored and assumed to be less severe than other forms of intimate partner violence.

Editors Note: In the story “International Women’s Day” sent at: 11/03/2022 14:36.

This is a corrected repeat.

Are you a journalist? Sign up for our wire service
No related articles.