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EJS Center’s Director of Programs Rumbidzai Chisenga: Closing the gender data gap is key to achieving equality

The World Economic Forum’s recent Global Gender Gap Index has revealed the extent of the effort and time needed to achieve parity, concluding that, at the current rate of progress, it will take 132 years to reach full parity.

However, a recent report has painted an even more bleak picture by uncovering a significant gap in the data required to track progress on the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5. The UN Women’s SDG 5 tracker—published as part of the annual Gender Snapshot Report—revealed that only 47% of data is currently available, rendering women and girls effectively invisible. 

To unpack these latest findings, and discuss the implications of the gender data gap on the progress toward parity, we spoke with our Director of Programs Rumbidzai Chisenga, who offered an insightful perspective on the critical role of data in the fight for gender equality.

Highlighting the importance of data, Ms. Chisenga called for building effective strategies that rely on the objective perspective offered by gender data:

“Data doesn’t only help us to accurately unpack the problem and hone the responses, it also helps us measure the effectiveness of those responses and assess the progress we are making towards closing the gender gap.”

She also discussed how innovative tools, such as the EJS Center’s Data Hub for Women’s Leadership in Public Governance, are offering reliable access to data on women’s leadership and “galvanizing broader participation in advancing gender equality.”

Asked about the implications of COVID-19 on global gender equality, Ms. Chisenga stressed the need to open the space for women leaders and allow them to be involved in the pandemic recovery efforts. 

“Now is the time to employ women’s ingenuity, skill, and leadership to help our communities and nations recover from the devastating impacts of the pandemic.” 

She concluded by calling for increasing global commitment and investments toward equity “as a matter of urgency.”

Read the full interview with Ms. Chisenga here.

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