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Focusing on Open Data & Gender in 2017

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The Open Data for Development (OD4D) program understands that open data is not gender neutral. We want to ask: how can we leverage open data to help create gender transformation?

The OD4D program has helped support the capacity of women open data leaders in Africa, Latin America, and East Europe and Asia. We have monitored the gender composition of our trainings and conferences, and some of our activities have given us relevant gender insights. However, adequate gender programming has remained a challenge for the OD4D program. Aligned with the growing trend to take gender issues seriously in the open data community, the OD4D program started to tackle the gender dimension much more seriously, and gender was included as a key dimension of the OD4D external evaluation. Early evaluation findings indicate that, while there is a significant share of prominent women among OD4D program partners and actors, there is still a lack of understanding of the relationship between open data and gender, and limited capacity on gender-related programming and analysis.


At the 2016 International Open Data Conference, gender emerged as an important theme.

That’s why, for 2017, focusing on open data and gender will become an explicit priority for the program. OD4D will expand research projects that examine issues related to open data and gender, and target capacity-building around this theme.

We have already begun more explicitly tackling open data in gender in our work. For example, current and future work planned for 2017 includes:

  • A working group that will create context-based research and encourage Middle East and North Africa (MENA) gender data experts and expertise, resulting in guidelines for projects and initiatives;
  • Our Latin America regional hub is currently exploring how open data can contribute to gender equality and, in particular, how it can help prevent and eliminate violence against women. This includes building new regional partners to develop open data standards to catalyse actions to collect reliable data on women’s homicides;
  • The Caribbean Open Institute will work closely with women in Haiti on developing data skills for employment; and
  • We will convene an agenda setting meeting with open data and gender experts in Ghana during the Africa Open Data Conference in July 2017 to help establish a collaborative agenda for open data and gender work in Africa.

In order to support these projects, OD4D will be receiving targeted gender mentorship and additional resources specifically to target gender programming, which will help support OD4D advancements in this area over the coming year.