By MC Staff.
Counting the invisible so they count
A new report from the charity Plan seeks to count the number of invisible girls so they do not become invisible women. For many people, our online activities reveal valuable details about who we are, where we live and the kinds of products, services and experiences we might enjoy – as well as life-saving information about health or safety.
Widespread use of technology has led to huge changes in the way individuals, companies and governments are able to record, collect, store and analyse information. But the revolution has not reached everyone equally, and millions of people remain invisible because of a lack of credible and timely data. Girls and women are among the most invisible, because some of the data that are currently being collected fail to accurately reflect the specific challenges they face – and other data relevant to their lives are not being captured at all.
We may know how many girls are in school, for example, but we do not adequately measure how many leave school for various reasons, including marriage, pregnancy, sexual violence, school fees or a lack of employment opportunities following school. We cannot hope to increase every girl’s access to education if we do not track some of the most important factors that limit their opportunities.
The new report reveals how improving the information we have about girls will help create a just world and equality for all.
‘Counting the Invisible’ explores the current state of gender data and exposes the gaps: we don’t count how many girls leave school because of early marriage, pregnancy or violence, exactly how many give birth before they turn 15, how many hours a day they spend working, what kind of work they do and whether they get paid for it. Bringing visibility to these realities can transform girls’ lives.
A world in which every girl and woman counts and can be counted is not only possible, it is an essential part of achieving true equality.
Many girls, like Wendy from Zimbabwe, are forced to drop out of school because they can’t afford the fees and then disappear from official records as they struggle to survive.
Gender data alone won’t change the world, but it can help make change possible by revealing insights, identifying needs and gauging what works and what does not.
You may also like Plan UK Campaign – Learn without Fear and our other Briefing features.