Where to search for data about women?

The time is now – hereby I present a new series on my blog, one that is very close to my heart. In this series you will find articles focused on one of big, but often underestimated (or laughed at) global trends: women empowerment.

I guess contemporary women follow the quotation from Mahatma Gandhi “first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”. Well, I’d also say – brace yourselves, women are coming.

The first episode will be devoted to the sources of data about women across the world. Knowledge and facts are always a good point of departure, aren’t they? J

So, where to search for data?

Melinda Gates says that if we want to overcome gender gap, we need to overcome data gap first. Indeed, we do not have as much of statistics, information and research on women across the world as we need, i.e. in the least developed and developing countries. Fortunately, though, there are institutions, organisations and companies that try to deliver new data and research on the situation of girls and women in many corners of the world. They tackle issues such as C-suite levels of management, the situation of working mothers in various sectors of the economy, and the access to education and healthcare for girls and women in the least developed countries.

Here are some links that I hope to be useful and helpful for my readers. If you work on a dissertation or on an essay on women’s issues, you definitely should have a look at this list – and expand it, too. Fortunately, there are more (even if not enough) institutions conducting research on women out there. This is just the beginning. Looking forward to the links you would like to share.

UN Women – United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women – one of leading United Nations organisations and the most usual suspect in the field, although created only in July 2010. UN Women, with its leader Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (the first ever female vice-resident of South Africa), focuses on increasing leadership and participation of women, ending violence against women, engaging women in peace and security processes, enhancing women’s economic empowerment and making gender equality central to national development plans and budgets. When publications are concerned, UN Women is known especially for its annual reports and sharing gender equality best practices from various corners of the world.


UNICEF – this humanitarian and development UN organisation aims at improving the situation of children around the world but most importantly, it runs programmes in the least developed and developing countries. It focuses on children living in “fragile contexts”, living with disabilities, and especially now – those affected by urbanisation and/or environmental degradation. It fights poverty, violence, as well as diseases from early childhood on. UNICEF has its place in this article due to another priority: promotion of girls’ education/ equal access to education for all children. It provides publication, reports and extensive data in this field.

https://www.unicef.org/publications/ https://www.unicef.org/reports https://data.unicef.org/

UNDP HDR – United Nations Development Programme delivers annual Human Development Reports, measuring i.e. living conditions and, of course, the level of development in countries worldwide. These reports treat gender inequality as a major barrier to human development and hence provide the Gender Inequality Index so that countries can examine their strengths and weaknesses in tackling gender inequality. It consists of 3 dimensions (health, empowerment, labour market), with 5 major indicators (maternal mortality ratio, adolescent birth rate, female and male population with at least secondary education, female and male shares of parliamentary seats, female and male labour force participation rates). Building on them, GII provides for the female reproductive health index, female empowerment index, female labour market index, male empowerment index and male labour market index. So much data!


WHO – World Health Organisation operates with the UN. It runs offices in more than 150 countries and aims at ensuring “the highest attainable level of health for all people”. WHO runs the gender, equity and human rights programme with a knowledge centre where you can find more than 100 hundred publications and documents. They cover such issues as fighting violence against women and female genital mutilation, HIV epidemic, access to hygiene services, the right to health and many others, including best practices from various countries.


World Bank with its CEO, the one and only, very well-known women’s issues advocate Kristalina Georgieva, first and foremost provides financial and technical assistance aiming at ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity worldwide. It is also known for its unique, extensive database and an open knowledge centre – you will not find any place in the internet where you can learn more about development. The flagship report of the World Bank is titled “Doing Business” but it provides broad publication on gender, girls’ education, inequality and shared prosperity, and many more, too.



OECD Gender Data Portal – the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in my opinion resembles an international, global think-tanks, providing best practices and well documented research on public policies that aims at bringing high level development to as many countries as possible. It treats gender equality as an important factor building high-level development and collects useful data and research in this field. In its Gender Data Portal it tackles inequalities in “education, employment, entrepreneurship, governance, health and development”. Data cover 35 member countries and partners: Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa. http://www.oecd.org/gender/

OSCE – the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe treats gender equality as one of sine qua non conditions fostering “peace, sustainable democracy and economic development” and aims at integrating gender equality into public policies and practices in participating countries and in the organisation. The majority of initiatives are run through the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights that is based in Warsaw and are based on the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 focusing on the engagement of women in “conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation”. The Office provides best practices and experiences from the programmes and projects it has run.


Eurostat – the European Union’s statistical office – is the number one address for everyone searching for extensive data covering almost every field of life in the EU so that countries can compare their performance with one another and know who to learn best practices from. When it comes to gender statistics, Eurostat covers indicators from the fields of education, labour market, earnings and health, but omits participation and engagement on public affairs. This service provides also further publications, tables, figures and maps – ready for download.


Asian Development Bank was established in 1960s with an aim to foster economic growth and cooperation among various actors in the region, securing its Asian identity. Now it has 67 members, 19 of which are from outside the region and include the US and several European countries. ADB runs projects in and collects data form its members, tackling i.e. household level poverty and inequalities so that inclusive growth, poverty reduction and the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals are possible. https://www.adb.org/themes/gender/main

European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) has taken over the European Commission’s database on women and men in decision-making in politics, business, media, etc. – hence, covers the fields that are missing from the today works of Eurostat. EIGE also runs its own Gender Statistics Database covering employment, education and health. IT covers 28 EU member states, as well as Montenegro, FYROM, Serbia, Turkey, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. http://eige.europa.eu/news-and-events/news/where-find-latest-data-women-and-men-decision-making

ONE – a campaigning and advocacy organisation, acting worldwide, but with the emphasis placed on Africa and the fight against poverty, AIDS and corruption. ONE educates and lobbies governments “to shape policy solutions that save and improve” lives of their citizens. They do not receive any public funds. One of the major ONE reports is titled “Poverty is sexist”. The organisation covers and publishes on such issues as maternal and child health, education, as well as agriculture, water and sanitation and infectious diseases.


International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) is a research institute with its HQ in Washington, DC. And regional offices in New Delhi and Kampala. ICRW provides insights on women’s contributions (and obstacles to these contributions) to the development of society, state and economy. The Center hires “social scientists, economists, public health specialists and demograhpers” and publishes on such broad and diverse issues as maternal mortality, gender and digital financial inclusion and domestic violence. It runs research programmes on all continents.


Institute for Inclusive Security – I first heard of this Institute during Warsaw NATO Summit Experts’ Forum in 2016 and the performance of Michelle Barsa, representing the institute at a panel on women’s issues in armed conflicts. And this is exactly what the Institute does – it focuses on the above-mentioned UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and every aspect around it. As you can read on the Institute’s website, it equips “decision makers with knowledge and tools that strengthen their ability to develop inclusive policies and approaches” towards women engagement in conflict resolution and other issues from the peace and security agenda.


#girlpower series includes also following articles:

Podcast #1 Women who inpire – Nerds

Women who inspire – Part I

Women who inspire – Part II

Women who inspire – Part III

Women who inspire – Part IV

Female Nobel Peace Prize laureates

Women in political science


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