Data takes center stage in movement for equality

Two of the world’s most prominent women put data in the spotlight this week, arguing the numerous benefits data will have in understanding and advancing women’s equality around the world.

The Clinton Foundation and the Gates Foundation announced their new partnership to collect and analyze data about the status of women worldwide. The report will collect data from 1995 to present day, and is expected to be released in 2015.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Melinda Gates made the announcement in a panel moderated by Chelsea Clinton, at New York University on Thursday.

The initiative, No Ceilings: “The Full Participation Project,” launched this past November by Clinton, is meant to evaluate the progress women are making worldwide, generate awareness about issues, and mobilize the private sector, governments and people worldwide.


“We’ve seen progress, but we’ve also seen that there is not an adequate base of information and evidence that we can draw conclusions from about how much progress has been made and what the gaps for the action and decision making still are,” Clinton said during the panel.

Gates and Clinton stressed the importance of gathering data evidence in the fight for women’s equality, agreeing that without data it’s impossible to know what’s left to be done.The partnership intends for the data to be easily accessible, usable and searchable, but also that it is understandable to people around the world.

The data once made available, will be accessible on web platforms and also possibly available via SMS technology, so regions of the world with limited smartphone and Internet capabilities can access the information.

The data will be collected through traditional sources, including the World Bank, the United Nations system and World Economic Forum but also through less traditional methods such as Google, according to Chelsea Clinton.

Linda Rosa, digital strategist and director of government solutions at IdeaScale, told FedScoop the way the data is presented and organized will be crucial.


“People collect data all the time, but the problem lies in not knowing what to do with it,” Rosa said. “A focus on releasing the data in different formats can really make all the difference.”

Stephanie Grosser,  senior adviser for data technology and communications at the U.S. Agency for International Development, Development Credit Authority, deals exclusively with data in her role at USAID and in projects she and her team work on. She said the Clinton Foundation’s latest announcement does a great service for everyone working in the data space.

“The more data that is released publicly translates into more analysis anyone can do,” Grosser told FedScoop. “This enables people with new perspectives to mash up different data to draw new conclusions with the same information.”

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