Why are gender statistics needed?

Disparities exist between women and menís economic, social and political empowerment. Although gender equality may be engrained in legal text, discrimination continues. Gender statistics are needed to provide a factual representation of the status and roles of women and men in society. Gender statistics are the basis for national gender policies aimed at improving the situation of women and a foundation for programmes promoting sustainable development.  Gender statistics also serve as a tool for evaluating such policies.
What are gender statistics?

Gender statistics are numerical information collected and presented to reflect the status of women in comparison to men. They draw on all fields of national statistical systems and require the collection and presentation of all data by sex (girls and boys, women and men). Gender issues are integrated into the production of gender statistics so that they reflect the problems and needs of women in relation to men.


Gender Parity Indices a a for Economic Activity and Adult Unemployment Rates
in ESCWA Member Countries, Latest Year Available b


a) Gender parity indices (GPI) are calculated as the ratio of women to men. A value less than 1 implies an inequality in favor of men, a value greater that 1 implies an inequality in favour of women and a value of women implies equality.
b) Country data for GPI for economic activity rates pertain to the year 2000. GPI for adult unemployment rates pertain to the year 2001,with the exceptions of Lebanon and Yemen whose date pertain to the years 1997 and 1999 respectively.

Source: ILO LABORSTA database accessed at

How are they produced?

The production of gender statistics draws on the work of all national statistical offices. The process is based on user-producer collaboration and is illustrated in the production process diagram on the right.

Users of gender statistics shed light on gender issues, national policies and gender-specific programmes. They also provide input on the availability, accessibility and quality of gender statistics.

Producers respond by mainstreaming gender issues into the production of gender statistics and by improving statistical methods and concepts to address data gaps. Producers also provide guidance in the correct use of gender statistics amongst users that are not trained in statistics.

Whose responsibility is it to produce gender statistics?

A number of international conventions, such as the Beijing Platform for Action and the proceedings of the Beijing +5 conference, underscore the importance of mainstreaming gender statistics into national, regional and international policies and programmes.  They also emphasize the role of governmental organizations in the generation and dissemination of gender-based statistics for planning and evaluation purposes. 

International bodies, such as the United Nations, have a role to play as well.  According to objective H3 of the Platform, international agencies should assist in the production of disaggregated gender data, improvement of concepts and methods of data collection, as well as strengthening vital statistical systems and the incorporation of gender analysis into publications and research work.

Gender Statistics
The Production Process
(click on image to enlarge)

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