Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Tuesday announced it will commit $80 million over the next three years to close gender data gaps and help accelerate progress for women and girls around the world.
The initiative will promote gender equality and support the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Alongside the Gates Foundation’s commitment, partners across governments, non-profits and philanthropic organisations have also agreed upon a new statement of principles regarding gender data and its importance for accelerating development outcomes.
“By adopting the SDGs the world agreed to achieve gender equality by 2030. But we cannot close the gender gap without first closing the data gap,” Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said in her keynote speech today at the Women Deliver conference in Copenhagen.
“We simply don’t know enough about the barriers holding women and girls back, nor do we have sufficient information to track progress against the promises made to women and girls. We are committed to changing that by investing in better data, policies and accountability,” she added.
The Gates Foundation’s new $80 million commitment will support efforts that: Fill critical gender data gaps, including knowing how much time women and girls spend on unpaid work around the world, and what implications this has on their life chances and choices, such as completing education, getting jobs or starting businesses.
The funds will also help improve the accuracy and reliability of data collection, which can reveal at a large scale who owns assets like land, property or credit.
They will equip decision makers with more timely and clearer evidence about programmes and interventions that are working and those that are not, so they can be redesigned quickly and more effectively.
Moreover, the financial commitment will support civil society in holding leaders to account for the commitments they’ve made to women and girls, helping maintain the political will to achieve gender equality.
It will also amplify and strengthen organisations and platforms that keep gender equality at the center of global and national development efforts.