Data and Evaluation: Two Key Tools for a Successful Gender Mainstreaming Strategy

10 July, 2023

Blog, Press

Gender mainstreaming is a strategy that seeks to integrate a gender perspective into all policies, programs, activities, and decision-making processes across all sectors and levels of society. It is an effective way to address inequalities and promote a more just and equitable society. When we talk about gender mainstreaming, we refer to a gradual, step-by-step process that requires focused initiatives that seek to both respond to an organization’s existing needs when it comes to gender and drive transformational change that is sustainable over time. To propose an appropriate strategy from the outset, knowing and understanding the diverse needs and priorities of the population we work with is essential. This requires the targeted collection and analysis of data that is disaggregated by gender and reflects the current state of the company or organization regarding gender, diversity, and inclusion. 

The collection and use of gender data and indicators represent a key area of opportunity across all sectors. Many countries and organizations recognize the importance of gender-disaggregated data for change management and have taken steps to collect and use them in policy development and decision-making processes. 

The United Nations includes specific points related to gender equality in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 5) and requires more aggressive data collection to monitor progress made on this agenda. However, challenges in the availability, quality, and use of standard methodologies might hinder the standardization of these practices. A lack of standardized methodologies, underreporting of data, and biases in the collection processes are just some of the issues that limit the use of indicators to understand better the gender gaps that exist in both the public and private sectors. 

Gender data can potentially reduce inequalities by providing an evidence base that makes gender gaps visible in areas where they were previously considered non-existent or irrelevant. The data help us map the current state of these issues and point the way to solutions. Measuring gender gaps with disaggregated data:

  1. establishes a starting point that facilitates the creation of strategies and policies that respond to the gender needs and priorities of diverse populations;
  2. facilitates the measurement of progress and setbacks in specific areas, programs, or activities;
  3. and establishes the possibility of monitoring and evaluating the implementation and results of the initiatives to develop new and better gender mainstreaming strategies. 

In the particular case of private companies, creating indicators based on gender-disaggregated data is a fundamental step in driving gender mainstreaming at the organizational level. Measuring these indicators is essential for the development of effective human resources policies and procedures—e.g., measuring the salary gap or the representation of women in leadership positions; marketing and communications—e.g., developing campaigns that don’t reproduce gender stereotypes; and even for product and service development areas—e.g., ensuring that a company’s products and/or services respond to the real needs of the target population. Monitoring and evaluating these metrics is critical to deepening internal (within the organization) and external (market) knowledge and thus maximizing opportunities, increasing profitability, and minimizing risks. 

For example, monitoring and evaluating indicators internally allows companies to be transparent about their commitment to gender mainstreaming and provides an objective basis for assessing the progress, impact, and results of the initiatives implemented. This constant analysis and learning help identify barriers and challenges so that the organization can adjust, adapt, or re-imagine its strategies and increase the impact of its efforts. 

On the other hand, measuring external data helps identify specific patterns and preferences of target populations concerning the organization’s products and services. Having detailed market knowledge that recognizes diversity and understands it as a potential benefit can help establish product or service objectives, reach new customers, innovate, and improve specific areas—e.g., segmenting the market to customize a service offering to meet the needs and desires of each group. 

The Gender Platform: An initiative of the Pro Mujer Gender Knowledge Lab and Acrux Partners to advance the measurement of disaggregated data 

Despite the benefits of measuring and tracking gender-based data, this is still an emerging issue in the financial and corporate worlds. It is essential to draw on previous experiences and learnings from other organizations to ensure effective data measurement and the creation of gender indicators. 

As part of the project “Mainstreaming Gender-Sensitive Investment Strategies Among Institutional and Commercial Investors in Latin America,” funded by USAID through DAI, Pro Mujer and Acrux Partners collaborated to create the Gender Platform. This learning platform offers self-assessment tools, strategic resources, and case studies based on the experiences and lessons learned from the 

project. This knowledge hub features publicly accessible resources to help any company—regardless of size or sector—improve its gender mainstreaming practices, disaggregated data measurement, and monitoring and evaluation initiatives. 
The platform offers resources from sources such as the European Institute for Gender Equality, the Gender Innovation Fund, the Swiss Development Cooperation, Frontiers Incubators, the National Institute of Women of Mexico, and the ILU Toolbox, among others. These tools serve as a starting point for any organization that wants to start or strengthen the implementation of these initiatives.