We need to measure the gender gap in education, political empowerment, health and survival, and economic participation and opportunity. This means we need disaggregation of all development data by gender. No matter how you cut it—socially, economically, legally—girls and women in the poorest countries get a raw deal.

This goal is about the girl denied an education or forced into marriage. The mother who risks death when she gives life. The farmer prevented from owning the land she works on. Data is critical in the fight for gender equality. Proof of marriage can help women to obtain nationality, or at least residency, in a country and, in some societies, protect their rights of access to, and guardianship of, children.

The Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) program gathers sex-disaggregated information from 82 countries on key issues like HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence. Advocates have used this gender disaggregated data to push for, and win, national legislation prohibiting domestic violence in a number of countries and to effect programming changes based on the finding that young women are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa.

"Women’s status in society has become the standard by which humanity’s progress toward civility and peace can be measured."

Mahnaz Afkhami