Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: What Counts for Girls
The world’s 1.1 billion girls are part of a large and vibrant global generation poised to take on the future. Yet the gender equality in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a distant dream. Every day we see the predominance of disadvantage and discrimination borne by girls everywhere.
Only through explicit focus on collecting and analyzing girl-focused, girl-relevant and sex-disaggregated data, and using these data to inform key policy and program decisions, can we adequately measure and understand the opportunities and challenges girls face, and identify and track progress towards solutions to their most pressing problems.
With this in mind, the theme for this year’s International Day of the Girl (11 October) is Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: What Counts for Girls. While we can applaud the ambition and potential of the SDGs for girls, and recognize how girls’ progress is good not only for girls, but also for families, communities and society at large; we must consider how existing gaps in data on girls and young women, lack of systematic analysis, and limited use of existing data significantly constrain our ability to monitor and communicate the wellbeing and progress of nearly half of humanity.
To advance progress for girls, we call for increased investments in order to:
Enhance national capacity and systems to collect, analyze and disseminate gender data across the age spectrum to improve statistics on gender-based violence, adolescent pregnancy and reproductive health, informal employment, entrepreneurship, unpaid work, and other priorities for girls and young women.
Disaggregate data on boys and girls and along other dimensions (e.g., ethnicity, age, income-level, disability, location, migration status, etc.) to better understand exactly which children and adolescents are most disadvantaged and where.
Improve data collection efforts for often undercounted groups – such as data on sexual violence against younger adolescent girls (10-14).
Harness “big data” and technology to close the gender data gaps in areas where progress for girls is often difficult to measure due to issue sensitivity or the huge data volume required, including through analysis of girls’ opinions on key development issues on social media.
Remedy the gender bias in existing measurement tools, particularly biases that exclude the most vulnerable. For example, improved data collection tools can prevent underreporting of violence against girls and undercounting of their births and deaths.
Pilot and scale-up innovative real-time data platforms to monitor and adapt programming for girls, to ensure girls are active participants in program design and that programs achieve the most impactful results.
Girls have already changed the world for the better, and this generation has the power to magnify that change. Let all join in advancing progress for girls, to share ideas, reaffirm commitments and advance investments in areas highlighted above, and beyond, to empower girls and achieve the SDGs by 2030