CREAW was pleased to represent Civil Society Organisations and the women of Kenya at the recent Government of Kenya (GoK) – UN Joint Programme on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (JP GEWE) training workshop to strengthen the capacity of government to collect, analyse and use sex disaggregated data (SDD), held in Mombasa in mid-July 2013. Run jointly by UN Women and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the workshop focused on gender mainstreaming across statistics gathering activities in Government Ministries. Also in attendance were staff from UNESCO, the Gender Commission, and the Association of African Women Research and Development.
The collection, analysis and use of statistics and sex disaggregated data remains a challenge. The data needed to understand gender differences in many sectors remains scarce, and the capacity of many public officers to integrate the use of such statistics and gender issues in development programmes even when they are available is not strong.
Gender statistics reflect the differences between women and men in all areas of life. The collection, analysis and dissemination of SDD is vital for countries to assess and identify gaps where better policy, legislation or programming by NGOs may support better access and support and ensure women’s full and equal participation at all levels of society.
For CREAW and the women we support the importance of this training is in the impact accurate collection and analysis of data has on the development of evidence-based policy and legislation that supports women’s full access to rights. SDD are needed to raise consciousness on the different roles of women and men, and the unequal access to resources, in order to persuade policy makers to promote change through gender-sensitive policies. CREAW builds this into our lobbying and advocacy activities, and our public interest litigation cases. This can also hold Governments to account on their Constitutional mandate to uphold the rights of their constituents.
Participants were reminded that ‘every statistics has a life behind it’.
The aims of the workshop were to review the current collection, use and dissemination of SDD across public sectors Ministries as well as increase the awareness and understanding of the significance of gender statistics and the importance and application of SDD for quantitative analyses in development projects. The workshop covered;
- Policy and Legal Frameworks and national and sector policies underpinning Gender Mainstreaming, Gender Statistics and the use of SDD. Currently the implementation of these frameworks is weak, and efforts to implement these plans are ad hoc and goals rarely measured. Gender policies do not adequately guide the provision of comprehensive data collection and need to be supported by gender responsive data collection and analysis tools.
- The importance of including gender perspectives in statistics, and rigorous analysis during the policy making process at every stage in order that gender rights are realised.
- The interpretation, dissemination and communication of gender statistics for decision-making, advocacy, and program improvement. There are different ways to interpret and use results to make decision, modify and or improve programming and advocate to different audiences. Data analysis can highlight particular successful strategies or program components, determine whether targets (population or areas) are met, identify weaknesses and advocate increased support for different streams.
- Identification of gaps in the collection and use of gender statistics.
Bringing Ministries together meant challenges that arose throughout the week could be discussed. Ministries had some trouble agreeing on whether they had a Gender Focal Point and what the capacity and abilities of that office looked like. Difficulties with data use and analysis needs to be addressed, and public sector staff made fully aware of data collection methods, the importance of accuracy, the impact of discrepancies in data analysis and how unsupported policy recommendations based on poor analysis of data leads to a weakened system of governance and the either poor outcomes or the continuation of existing inequalities for women.
Demand remains low in most Ministries, which may be due to little emphasis on evidence based policy from the top down. Hampering collection of data is the expense of running national sample surveys which would create a better holistic picture of the current state of things. There is still also limited disaggregation of county level data, with data obtained from administration records sometimes patchy and unclear.
Most Ministries have good gender aware initiatives – such as those of Education on recruitment and deployment, balanced intake of trainees and readmission of girls who become pregnant while at school – and these need to be followed, monitored and then analysed to establish where gaps exist. The targets themselves need to be buttressed by adequate evidence, and not just set arbitrarily. Ministries could build their stock of initiatives and potential issues that need to be interrogated by identifying constraints that effect equal participation in different facets of life, such as trade or education. Boosting collaboration between data providers, policy makers and gender focal points will improve data utilisation for policy formation, planning and management.