Policymakers and gender equality:
what they know and how they know it

Exploring data-driven decision making on gender equality with policy makers – Initial Findings

Understanding the perspectives of policymakers on gender equality – as well as the extent to which these perspectives are grounded in data and evidence – is a crucial part of understanding where change needs to happen in order to keep us on track to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for girls and women by 2030.

The fact remains that, if the SDGs are to be achieved, it will be because policymakers in the 193 countries that signed up to the SDGs put in place the laws, policies and funding necessary to implement the goals on the ground.

By surveying 109 policymakers in five countries (Indonesia, India, Kenya, Senegal and Colombia), this research seeks to shed light on:

  • How do policymakers perceive progress on gender equality in their countries?
  • What most needs to change in order to improve gender equality?
  • What data and evidence do they rely on to make their decisions?
  • How confident are they in their understanding of the major challenges affecting girls and women in their countries?

The survey results raise concerns about whether policymakers are equipped with [and sufficiently using] the basic information required to drive action towards the ambitious gender equality targets that are part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

With the initial findings of this study we aim to contribute to a better understanding of the policy space for gender equality (and the role of data and evidence within that). The interim findings from this research will contribute to debates about data-driven decision making on gender equality, and raise attention to the gaps in accessible, reliable and relevant data and evidence needed to reach the SDGs by 2030.

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“Create equal opportunities on education, equal opportunities for girls and boys at all grade levels.”

Policymaker in Senegal

“Women need to be given a place at the table. Be it corporate, county level or whatever avenue.”

Policymaker in Kenya

“Caring for children, should also be a priority for the government, not a private problem of women.”

Policymaker in Colombia

“It is very important for woman to have equal rights to make decisions, to decide what she wants to be in the future.”

Policymaker in Indonesia

“Objectifying women – we [have to] address [this] first.”

Policymaker in India