Statistical literacy for different users of data: Good practice from Moldova to better address gender inequalities
5 November 2015

Statisticians and data users from Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia gathered in Chisinau, Moldova, for a two-day Workshop on Gender Statistics Dissemination and Training, organised by United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and UNDP Moldova and hosted by the National Bureau of Statistics. The event aimed to exchange experience on how to use and communicate gender sensitive statistical data, and to discuss the UNECE toolkit for training of gender statistics users.

Dafina Gercheva, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Moldova, said at the event: “The implementation of new world agenda on sustainable development requires responsible institutions, strong national capacity and also political will and financial resources. Countries need accurate disaggregated data to be able to approach inequalities and make sure that each and every person, women and men, girls and boys, have access to equal opportunities, and can apply their abilities to contribute to their countries’ development. The proper use of such data is even more crucial when it comes to proper monitoring of the implementation of selected priorities”.

Leaving no one behind is indeed the greatest global challenge for sustainable development. The level of disaggregation of data collected will play a crucial role in monitoring and evaluating progress on the newly launched Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Choosing appropriate indicators for each SDGs, and effectively monitoring progress on gender equality across all goals will be essential to ensure that women and men, girls and boys are equally benefiting from implementation efforts.

Andres Vikat, Head of Social and Demographic Statistics at UNECE, underlined: “The new global development agenda post-2015 shows, on one hand, people’s interest in the work being done by statisticians. On the other hand it puts a high demand on the quality of data produced. Statisticians need to constantly proof the relevance of their work in order to meet up the users’ expectations in the broader context of monitoring SDGs, but also in the day-to-day support to national policy-makers”.

As discussed at the event, the task of a statistician goes beyond collection and production of statistics. It includes understanding the needs of diverse user groups, improving dissemination, raising awareness of the value of statistical data and actively encouraging their informed use. These issues can be addressed through cooperation between producers and users of statistics. Everyone working with public policy or societal issues needs skills to understand and use evidence. Policies that promote gender equality and empowerment of women require a more specific understanding of gender issues and of relevant statistical data.

The Country Representative of UNFPA in Moldova, Ian McFarlane, underlined the connection between data generation and data use. “To be able to make progress, we have to ensure that this connection is reinforced. This is part of our joint UN work here in Moldova, where the UN family has supported the development of a national strategy for the development of a national statistical system, led by the National Bureau of Statistics. Gender equality is a fundamental factor in ensuring the development for all. The use of disaggregated data helps us tell the story about the benefits of gender equality”.

“Gender has been the core dimension considered during the last 8 years of support by UN Moldova provided to national statistics. It has been mainstreamed into policies and statistical processes in parallel. Gender has become a “by default” issue, considered by Moldovan policy-makers and statisticians in their daily activity. This change in behaviour is due to the overall acknowledgement of the value added that the gender dimension brings to our activities” Lucia Spoiala, Director General of the National Bureau of Statistics of Moldova, stated.

More than 40 participants from several countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and experts from Italy, Turkey, and Interstate Statistical Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States discussed and shared during the event their experience, lessons learned and challenges related to gender sensitive data dissemination and cooperation between statisticians and data users. The author of the UNECE toolkit for training of gender statistics users, Jessica Gardner, facilitated practical activities on the application of toolkit.

The National Bureau of Statistics of Moldova is so far the only statistical office in the region that tested, with the support of UNDP and UN Women, the UNECE toolkit with two different types of users – women’s NGOs and gender focal points in line ministries. In November, the toolkit will also be used with staff of the Parliament’s Secretariat. Moldovan statisticians shared their experience on designing training sessions, and namely the need to customize training sessions to the national background and the targeted users’ skills. This experience confirmed once again the need for more training on statistical literacy in Moldova, covering specialists from different sectors and professions.

The UNECE toolkit, once finalised taking into consideration feedback gathered during the workshop in Chisinau, will be widely disseminated by UNECE and made available online. It will then enable gender statistics focal points throughout the region to run training sessions on statistical literacy in gender issues. It will also facilitate better decision-making and more focused and cost-efficient actions to improve the quality of life of women and men, girls and boys. The toolkit is designed for users of gender statistics in the government and in various bodies promoting equal opportunities. It includes short user-friendly descriptions of concepts with practical examples and exercises to be used in training sessions.

The Republic of Moldova is one of the countries of the region with rich experience in disseminating gender statistics and cooperation among producer and users of data from which other countries could benefit.

The workshop is part of the project “Interregional cooperation to strengthen national capacities to measure progress in achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment” financed from the United Nations Development Account and UNFPA. It was organised in cooperation with UN Joint Project on Strengthening the National Statistical System, with the support of UNDP Moldova.

UN Partner Agencies