ow much income did women in developing countries earn last year? How much property do they own? How many more hours do girls spend on household chores than boys?
I don’t know. Neither does anyone else. The data just doesn’t exist.
Bill and I could easily spend our whole annual letter talking about the role data plays in driving progress for the world’s poorest people. Data leads to better decisions and better policies. It helps us create goals and measure progress. It enables advocacy and accountability.
That’s why the missing data about women and girls’ lives is so harmful. It gets in the way of helping them make their lives better.
The problem isn’t only that some women are missing from the record altogether. It’s also that the data we do have—data that policymakers depend on—is bad. You might even call it sexist. We like to think of data as being objective, but the answers we get are often shaped by the questions we ask. When those questions are biased, the data is too.