The gender and open data intersection – ICT Update
peter.suber's bookmarks 2019-02-27
"In May 2018, Ana Brandusescu of the Web Foundation delivered a webinar for the GODAN Working Group on Capacity Development where she discussed the “gender and open data intersection”. This was a precursor to the launch of a co-written report with Nnenna Nwakanma, Interim Policy Director, Web Foundation, in collaboration with Africa gender, digital rights and open data experts – AfroLeadership, BudgIT, Open Data Durban and Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) – entitled, Is open data working for women in Africa. The Report – which maps the current state of open data for women across Africa, with insights from country-specific research in Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda and South Africa with additional data from a survey of experts in 12 countries across the continent – delves into detail and identifies the four main challenges, which entrench this siloed approach.
First, the report identified a ‘closed’ data culture in Africa. It explains, “Most countries lack an open culture and have legislation and processes that are not gender-responsive. Institutional resistance to disclosing data means few countries have open data policies and initiatives at the national level. In addition, gender equality legislation and policies are incomplete and failing to reduce gender inequalities. And overall, Africa lacks the cross-organisational collaboration needed to strengthen the open data movement.”
Second, accessibility of data is raised as a challenge: “Cultural and social realities create additional challenges for women to engage with data and participate in the technology sector. One gigabyte of mobile data in Africa costs, on average, 10% of average monthly income. This high cost keeps women, who generally earn less than men, offline. Moreover, time poverty, the gender pay gap and unpaid labour create economic obstacles for women to engage with digital technology.”
Third, the lack of data impedes the very object of the investigation on women and data. As the authors identify, “Nearly all datasets in sub-Saharan Africa (373 out of 375) are closed, and sex-disaggregated data, when available online, is often not published as open data. There are few open data policies to support opening up of key datasets and even when they do exist, they largely remain in draft form. With little investment in open data initiatives, good data management practices or for implementing Right to Information (RTI) reforms, improvement is unlikely.”..."