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Open Gender Data

The fight for gender equality often centers around the importance of being seen, of shining a light on the often-hidden challenges that can be exacerbated by a person’s sex, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Examples of these challenges are barriers in accessing loans or public procurement tenders for women-owned businesses, the ability of girls or boys to consistently attend school, and LGBTQIA+ discrimination in health care or employment. Collecting and publishing disaggregated gender data that captures these disparities is critical to addressing inequality and injustice across and within different communities. According to Equal Measures 2030, without open gender data, “it is impossible to identify where needs are greatest or measure the impact of policies and programs.” However, considerable gaps in gender data collection, publication, and use persist in many countries due to data inaccessibility, interoperability, or the use of non-open formats.

Note: Gender data may disaggregate information by men, women, or other gender and sexual identity characteristics and experiences. In this chapter, references to “women” include those who identify as women, whether cisgender, transgender, or intersex women. Sex-disaggregated data often refers to binary “sex assigned at birth” characteristics of male and female, while gender data may take into account additional lived experiences and identities. Depending on the circumstances, there may be times in which it is beneficial to collect both sex and gender-disaggregated data.

Open Gov Challenge: Gender and Inclusion

With OGP’s 2023-2028 Strategy, OGP members are set to work toward a number of aspirational thematic reforms through the Open Gov Challenge. This section of the Open Gov Guide addresses Gender and Inclusion.

Challenge prompt: Adopt open government reforms to promote the full participation of women politically, socially and economically.

Actions and reforms could include:

  • Gender-targeted reforms such as mechanisms to tackle gender-based violence, both online and offline;
  • Mainstreaming gender across other challenge areas (eg anti-corruption, fiscal openness, climate and environment); and
  • Making the design and delivery of reforms participatory and inclusive of impacted communities.

Key Terms

Definitions for key terms such as gender mainstreaming and open gender data.

  • Gender data: Gender data (or “gender statistics”) refers to statistics or information that is separated or sortable by characteristics of sex, gender, or sexual orientation. According to Data2x, a civil society organization (CSO) working to improve the production and use of gender data, “gender data provides meaningful insight into differences in well-being across women and men, and girls and boys, as well as actionable information for policy to address disparities.”
  • Gender mainstreaming: Gender mainstreaming refers to the process of integrating a gender perspective into governance systems and processes.
  • Open gender data: To be considered “open data,” gender data must be published with the technical and legal characteristics to be “freely used, reused, and redistributed by anyone, anytime, anywhere.” It must also be machine-readable, bulk-downloadable, and openly licensed to permit free redistribution and reuse. The gender data in this chapter refers to government-held data unless otherwise stated.

The Evidence

Open gender data can support better decision-making and fairer access to services.

  • Investing in open gender data creates a virtuous cycle to improve government data collection practices more broadly, such as through the use of “censuses, surveys, and administrative systems that produce health, education, employment, and welfare statistics.” Ensuring that data collection captures disaggregated, regularly updated information on multiple characteristics, including gender, helps shed light on vulnerabilities of other groups. For example, filling data gaps on women’s health outcomes would address persistent delays in the diagnosis of cancer and diabetes, which would, in turn, save at least one trillion dollars a year in the global economy.
  • Opening up gender data is an important step to change policies and practices that could negatively impact different gendered groups and implement better-targeted initiatives to address their needs. For example, in Kenya, data gathered by a CSO on women’s land ownership made it “faster, easier and cheaper for a woman to have her name added to a land deed.”
  • Centralizing gender data can help ensure that policies and programs address the needs of those who most need that assistance. This can be done through a fully centralized process, across agencies, or through a data collaborative.
  • By improving knowledge and data sharing processes across government, open gender data can streamline how a government reports progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Commission on Ending Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and any other relevant international agreements or standards.

Reform Guidance

The recommendations below represent reforms that national and local governments, representatives of civil society organizations, and others can consider for their action plans and the Open Gov Challenge. The reforms are categorized according to OGP’s principal values: transparency, civic participation, and public accountability. Reforms should be adapted to fit the domestic context, and involve and coordinate with other levels and branches of government.

Reforms across policy areas are also tagged by the estimated degree of difficulty in implementation. Though progress is often not linear, the recommendations have been categorized using these labels to give the reader a sense of how different reforms can work together to raise the ambition of open government approaches.

Recommended Reforms Key

  • Transparency: Transparency empowers citizens to exercise their rights, hold the government accountable, and participate in decision-making processes. Examples of relevant activities include the proactive or reactive publication of government-held information, legal or institutional frameworks to strengthen the right to access information, and disclosing information using open data standards.

  • Civic Participation: When people are engaged, governments and public institutions are more responsive, innovative, and effective. Examples of relevant initiatives include new or improved processes and mechanisms for the public to contribute to decisions, participatory mechanisms to involve underrepresented groups in policy making, and a legal environment that guarantees civil and political rights.

  • Public Accountability: Public accountability occurs when public institutions must justify their actions, act upon requirements and criticisms, and take responsibility for failure to perform according to laws or commitments. Importantly, public accountability means that members of the public can also access and trigger accountability mechanisms. Examples of relevant activities include citizen audits of performance, new or improved mechanisms or institutions that respond to citizen-initiated appeals processes, and improved access to justice.

  • Inclusion: Inclusion is fundamental to achieving more equitable, representative, and accountable policies that truly serve all people. This includes increasing the voice, agency, and influence of historically discriminated or underrepresented groups. Depending on the context, traditionally underrepresented groups may experience discrimination based on gender, sexual identity, race, ethnicity, age, geography, differing ability, legal, or socioeconomic status.

  • Foundational: This tag is used for reforms that are the essential building blocks of a policy area. “Foundational” does not mean low ambition or low impact. These recommendations often establish basic legal frameworks and institutional structures.

  • Intermediate: This tag is used for reforms that are complex and often involve coordination and outreach between branches, institutions, and levels of government, with the public or between countries.

  • Advanced: This tag is used for reforms that close important loopholes to make existing work more effective and impactful. Specifically, “Advanced” reforms are particularly ambitious, innovative or close important loopholes to make existing work more effective, impactful or sustainable. They are often applied in mature environments where they seek to institutionalize a good practice that has already shown results.

  • Executive: The executive branch of government is responsible for designing, implementing, and enforcing laws, policies, and initiatives. It is typically led by the head of state or government, such as a president or prime minister, along with their appointed cabinet members. The executive branch’s functions also include overseeing the day-to-day operations of the government, managing foreign affairs, and directing the country’s armed forces. In democratic systems, the executive branch is accountable to the legislature and the electorate, with its powers and limitations outlined in the constitution or legal framework of the respective country.

  • Legislative: The legislative branch of government is responsible for making laws and regulations and overseeing the functioning of the government. It typically consists of a body of elected representatives, such as a parliament, congress, or assembly, which is tasked with proposing, debating, amending, and ultimately passing legislation. The legislative branch plays a crucial role in representing the interests of the people, as its members are elected to office by the public. In addition to law-making, this branch often holds the power to levy taxes, allocate funds, and conduct certain investigations into matters of public concern. The structure and powers of the legislative branch are usually outlined in a country’s constitution or legal framework, and it serves as a check on the executive and judicial branches to ensure a system of checks and balances within a state.

High-Priority Gender Data Checklist

Implementing bodies charged with improving the quantity and quality of gender data can begin by prioritizing the collection and publication of high-value data. As mentioned above, gender data should include a broad definition of “women” that encompasses cisgender, transgender, and intersex women.

Below is a checklist of some of the most important types of high-priority gender data, with a full list available in the Indicators Annex of the 2023 Gender Data Compass report.

  • Crime and justice data, such as information on the sex of victims and perpetrators, gender-based violence indicators on physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, and prison population demographics
  • Economic data, such as access to financial resources and land ownership
  • Education data, such as school enrollment and literacy rates
  • Health data, such as maternal and child mortality rates, food insecurity, and adult malnutrition
  • Labor data, such as employment, unpaid care work, and time allocation
  • Living conditions data, such as access to sanitation, electricity, and water

Examples of Reforms from OGP and Beyond

The following examples are commitments previously made within or beyond OGP that demonstrate elements of the recommendations made above. OGP members began making open gender data commitments in 2017 and have increasingly co-created commitments in this policy area since then. About 30 percent of OGP national members have at least one open gender data-related commitment.

OGP Reforms
  • ARGENTINA Data Published to Address GBV: Successfully published data on the budgets and resources allocated to preventing violence against women as part of a national plan.
  • BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA Data Portal for Official Statistics: Created a data portal on official statistics, with some datasets disaggregated by sex in areas such as employment, education, and health.
  • BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA Gender Data on Budgets and LGBTQIA+ Individuals: Made various commitments on open gender data, such as publishing open budget data on all city programs and resources related to gender policies, with a specific focus on comprehensive sexual education. Also committed to begin collecting and publishing data on the city’s LGBTQIA+ communities.
  • CANADA Gender-Based Violence Knowledge Center: Created a gender-based violence knowledge center to serve as a hub to coordinate federal initiatives under Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence, support data collection and research, and disseminate and mobilize GBV-related knowledge and evidence.
  • CATALONIA, SPAIN Open Gender Data on Socioeconomic Inequality: Committed to generating and publishing open, disaggregated gender data related to socioeconomic status and the feminization of poverty.
  • CZECH REPUBLIC Centralized System for Education Data: Committed to creating a new, centralized system for education-related data, which will include open data disaggregated by sex and other characteristics.
  • HONDURAS Open Data for Gender Parity in the Public Sector: Committed to increasing access to sex-disaggregated data in an open format about the gender breakdown of jobs in the public sector, especially in leadership positions.
  • QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO Budget Transparency Platform: Co-created a budget transparency platform that provides information on the budget cycle in open data format, with cross-cutting annexes on gender and anti-corruption. Committed to making the platform more user-friendly.
  • REPUBLIC OF KOREA Open Gender Data Portals: Began proactively disclosing high-demand open data as part of a larger effort to increase the accessibility of government-held data. Government think tanks have also contributed to this effort, such as the Gender Statistics Information System created by the Korean Women’s Development Institute, which centralizes gender data from all government agencies.
  • ROSARIO, ARGENTINA Opening Data with a Gender Perspective: Committed to implementing a cross-cutting approach to collect, use, and publish gender data that can be used to create better-targeted policies based on its Data and Gender Approach Guide published in 2023.
  • URUGUAY Gender-Based Violence Open Data:  Established and published standardized data on GBV across two action plans in 2018 and 2022, echoing the work of CSOs like Feminicidio Uruguay to capture data on gender-related violence.
Beyond OGP Action Plans
  • CANADA Inclusive Data Collection in the Census: Became the first country to provide census data about transgender and non-binary individuals as part of its 2021 census, which allowed individuals to self-identify their gender.
  • LIBERIA Gender Data Mainstreamed in Statistical Law: Passed one of the first statistical laws to mainstream gender-sensitive analysis and data disaggregation in the practices of its NSO. For example, the legal framework specifically “directs the NSO board to oversee development of gender-specific indicators.”
  • SENEGAL Annual, Gender-Sensitive Health Surveys: Conducts annual health surveys, unlike other countries that tend to collect health data every two or three years. These annual surveys allow the country to regularly update gender-sensitive health data, which allows for more targeted policy responses to gender disparities in health outcomes.
  • UNITED KINGDOM Inclusive Data Collection: Collects data on gender identity as well as sex assigned at birth through the Office for National Statistics, which covers England, Scotland, and Wales. The collection and publication of this data led to the creation of a “gender data roadmap,” which identifies eight key drivers of gender inequality.

The Role of Local Governments

Discussions of open data in general, and open gender data in particular, tend to focus on the need for national-level gender ministries and statistical offices to improve their practices and take on more responsibility as central coordinators to improve data collection, publication, and use.

However, local governments have an important role to play in ensuring that national-level data practices fully capture trends taking place in smaller frames of measurement—within and between households, at the municipal level, and at the state or provincial level. This is why disaggregation by location and at the intra-household level is just as critical as disaggregation by sex and gender, as described in the “Recommended Reforms” section above. Challenges faced by specific groups—such as those living in temporary housing within cities—are often overlooked in traditional data collection practices. Local governments can therefore help address these gender data gaps.

Who is working on this topic?

Abuja, Nigeria
Albania Albania
Anloga District, Ghana
Aragón, Spain
Argentina Argentina
Banggai, Indonesia
Bogotá, Colombia
Bosnia And Herzegovina
Brazil Brazil
Brebes, Indonesia
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Burkina Faso Burkina Faso
Canada Canada
Catalonia, Spain
Chile Chile
Colombia Colombia
Costa Rica Costa Rica
Côte d'Ivoire Côte D'ivoire
Czech Republic Czech Republic
Dominican Republic Dominican Republic
Ecuador Ecuador
El Kef, Tunisia
Elgeyo Marakwet, Kenya
Germany Germany
Ghana Ghana
Guatemala Guatemala
Honduras Honduras
Indonesia Indonesia
Ireland Ireland
Israel Israel
Italy Italy
Jalisco, Mexico
Jordan Jordan
Kaduna State, Nigeria
Kenya Kenya
La Libertad, Peru
Liberia Liberia
Makueni, Kenya
Malta Malta
Mexico Mexico
Mongolia Mongolia
Monterrey, Mexico
Morocco Morocco
Netherlands Netherlands
Nigeria Nigeria
North Macedonia
Panama Panama
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay Paraguay
Peru Peru
Philippines Philippines
Plateau, Nigeria
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Republic of Korea Republic Of Korea
Romania Romania
Rosario, Argentina
Salcedo, Dominican Republic
Semarang, Indonesia
Senegal Senegal
Shama, Ghana
Sierra Leone Sierra Leone
South Cotabato, Philippines
Spain Spain
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
Tangier - Tetouan - Al Hoceima, Morocco
Tarkwa Nsuaem, Ghana
Tétouan (Municipality), Morocco
Ukraine Ukraine
United States United States
Uruguay Uruguay
Wassa Amenfi East, Ghana
West Sumbawa, Indonesia

This list reflects members with commitments in the “Gender” policy area of the Data Dashboard.

Active OGP Partners

The following organizations have recently worked on this issue in the context of OGP at the national or international level. They may have additional insights on the topic. Please note that this list is not exhaustive. If you are interested in national-level initiatives, please contact

Benchmarking Data

The OGP 2023-2028 Strategy sets out the Open Gov Challenge and aims to provide clear benchmarks for performance through reliable data.

While benchmarks for individual countries and Open Gov Guide recommendations are not yet integrated, for this chapter, interested individuals may rely on the following data sets:

  • The Gender Data Compass maintained by Open Data Watch includes rankings and country profiles to evaluate gender data systems worldwide. The GDC specifically “documents the current availability and openness of 53 important gender indicators in over 180 countries…and the environment in which the gender data system operates.”
  • UN Women runs the Women Count data portal, which centralizes several data dashboards related to gender, such as a COVID-19 and gender monitor and a dashboard on the SDG indicators.
  • The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) hosts the Gender Data Hub, which includes an analysis of gender data coverage based on the minimum set of gender indicators put forth by the UN Statistical Commission.
  • The State of Gender Data portal run by Data2x is updated annually to capture global progress toward filling gender data gaps.

Guidance & Standards

While the list below is not exhaustive, it aims to provide a range of recommendations, standards, and analysis to guide reform in this policy area.

  • The Gender Data Compass maintained by Open Data Watch includes rankings and country profiles to evaluate gender data systems worldwide. Open Data Watch also produces reports on the findings of the GDC, with the latest published in 2023.
  • Equal Measures 2030 produced a 2022 update to a report on its SDG Gender Index, which includes an analysis of global progress on collecting, publishing, and using gender data.
  • UN DESA hosts the Gender Data Hub, which provides data on global progress toward meeting the minimum set of gender indicators created by the UN Statistical Commission. The Gender Data Hub also includes detailed guidance on specific themes related to gender data, such as economic empowerment, education, and the benefits of time-use data collection methods.
  • The UN Statistical Commission mandated the creation of the Global Gender Statistics Programme through the UN Statistics Division, which is coordinated by the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Gender Statistics. The Global Gender Statistics Programme provides methodological guidelines on how to use gender statistics, including for specific topics such as how to produce statistics to capture violence against women, as well as a minimum set of gender indicators and targets.
  • Data2x published recommendations on the solutions needed to address gender data gaps in 2022, along with a “Solutions Inventory” that collects examples of methodological innovations to close these data gaps. Data2x also runs the Gender Data Network and participates in the Women’s Financial Inclusion Data Partnership (WFID) to advance work in this policy area. The WFID also includes a set of principles to guide the work of the partnership and others.
  • The Clearinghouse for Financing Development Data focuses on gender data financing and reporting and includes detailed case studies and guidance in a single place.
  • Led by researchers at the Data + Feminism Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ILDA, and Feminicidio Uruguay, the Data against Feminicide project centralizes work to standardize femicide data and to develop tools to support the collection of such data from media sources as well as government bodies.
Open Government Partnership