At the Global Data Barometer we are committed to putting inclusion at the heart of all our research phases and wider activities. This means a commitment to racial and gender equity, and to identifying and avoiding data biases that drive or reinforce patterns of marginalisation and exclusion. We start from an awareness that there are many existing gender and racial biases both embedded in datasets and data infrastructures. The same also applies within the communities leading and doing research work with data. These dynamics also result in research generally being male dominated. Addressing these biases is a long-term process, and we do not expect to get everything right the first time. We know that we will need to draw upon wider expertise and experience to ensure our methods, indicators and strategies meet our commitments. As the first stage in that journey, we’re sharing a working draft of our gender and inclusion approach for the 2021 pilot edition of the Barometer study.
You can find the draft document here. We invite you to comment on it between now and March 12th 2021.
We will also be holding a web meeting to discuss our approach with Global Data Barometer research hubs, invited experts, and colleagues from the Data for Development network on 1st March 2021. If you would like to be invited to this session, you can contact Veronica Cretu (firstname.lastname@example.org).
More about our approach
We take an explicit focus on gender and inclusion because, more often than not, gender and inclusion issues have fallen between the cracks in research on data policy and practice. Moreso, comparative data on gender and inclusion is sometimes neglected due to different country or community contexts. The Barometer’s scoring approach should give higher scores to countries that cater for equitable access to data and provide skills for data use by people of all genders. This aligns with the idea that data for the public good cannot be realised without equality of access to the benefits data can bring (and equitable protection from the risks). This requires us to produce indicators that can reflect data availability, capability, production and use by all, as well as looking at cases where data itself should be gender sensitive. This concern runs across our thematic modules, where we have been exploring how the data, gender and inclusion connections play out in relation to each one.
In thinking about how the indicators and data elements collected by the Barometer’s upcoming expert survey can specifically address gender issues, we have drawn upon Sonal Zaveri’s Gender Analysis for Openness (GAFO) framework, from the recent Making Open Development Inclusive book. The framework calls for an examination of women’s power through 5 different lenses: power to (facilitated through increased skills and capabilities); power with (expressed through participation in collaborative and collective action); power within (i.e. motivation, confidence and self-efficacy); power over (including to overcome resource constraints); and power to empower (e.g. being in a position to champion others). We have also drawn on an understanding of intersectional inclusion. This has helped us to explore how indicators can be designed to cover not only relevant gender disaggregation, but also aspects such as the languages in which the data is made available, country specific contexts of gender inclusivity, race, geography or migrant status.
In our consultation document on designing an inclusive study we outline some of the definitions we’re using (and note some limitations of these), and we address key research strategies that the Barometer plans to adopt to operationalise these. We also explore the importance of addressing gender and inclusion issues in our researcher recruitment (particularly encouraging female candidates to apply) and dissemination (seeking to sensitively surface marginalised voices in our communication). We hope that, taken together, our approaches put into practice our commitment to equity.