GENDER-DISAGGREGATED DATA ON WATER AND
world’s governments are party, from CEDAW to Beijing to the MDG commitments. However, this has not produced tangible improvements in gender equity in the water and sanitation sectors.
This lack of progress is due in part to the stark absence of gender disaggregated WATSAN data. Without gender-disaggregated data, it is not possible to fully measure progress towards MDG or other goals. Without data, it is difficult to make effective analytical assessments of the comparative situation of women and men in different communities or parts of the world. Sound policy formulation is hampered by the lack
of information about the gendered realities of water and sanitation access, need and use in private and public sectors. Gender- disaggregated data are essential to assess the effects of policy measures on women and men. Data are essential to be able to evaluate and track the pivotal role of
Sound policy formulation is hampered by the lack of differentiated qualitative information
women in development and to apprehend the specific contributions of women as a “Major Group” in society (as detailed in Agenda 21).
Against this background of pressing data needs, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA) and the UN- Water Decade Programme on Capacity Development (UNW-DPC) convened an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) in December 2008 with several goals in view:
At a macro level, this initiative was intended to support efforts to
enhance gender equity in the water and sanitation sectors within the prevailing framework of the MDGs. While gender has been contemplated from many perspectives, attention to gender disaggregated data has been largely missing. A central goal of the EGM was to draw attention to this issue, and to frame new approaches to it.
The overarching purpose of focusing on data is to contribute to goals
of poverty eradication and gender equity through ensuring that women’s full and equal participation in all aspects of water and sanitation sectors is taken into account. The challenge and added value of this meeting was to explore ways to bridge the gap between conceptual or theoretical comprehensions of gender issues and everyday grassroots realities of differential access to and use of water and sanitation.
In terms of assessing the state of global gender-disaggregated data, the
meeting had several specific goals, to:
take stock of the state of gender-disaggregated data on water and sanitation at global and regional levels;
identify obstacles to gender-disaggregated data capacity/ collection; to identify data needs/ priorities;
make recommendations on policies, practices, and priorities to improve the state of gender-disaggregated data;
weigh the adequacy of current data collection regimes for capturing the gendered dimensions of water and sanitation;
SA N I T A TI O N