|Toward Gender Equality: The Role of Public Policy (WB, 1995, 88 p.)|
Gender-desegregated data and the capacity to analyze these data provide public policymakers with essential information and enhance the dialogue with agents outside government. One of the most valuable instruments for collecting desegregated data is the household survey. which can provide detailed information that is invaluable in policymaking. Obtaining full gender information in many instances entails only a small increase in costs. since the desegregation itself involves little extra work. However additional resources ate often needed to analyze the data and make it useful to policymakers. Public statistical agencies might analyze gender-desegregated information in partnership with private and academic institutions in order to share the costs.
There are several important steps in collecting useful and accurate data. First. in places where gender -desegregated household data have not yet been collected. special efforts should be made to obtain them. At a minimum data on how individuals use health and educational services should be collected routinely as part of national consumption and expenditure surveys. If household consumption. income or production surveys have already been carried out but little or no gender--desegregated data have been collected, the marginal cost of collection is likely to be quite modest-perhaps on the order of 10 percent of total costs.
Participatory methods help establish rational criteria for making public investment choose that incorporate both social and efficiency objectives.
Second. in places where basic gender-desegregated data have already been collected, it is important to gather more data from individuals on consumption and. as much as possible. on income and the ownership of assets. Such data ate vital for developing a deeper understanding of how access to and allocation and control of resources are determined within households. More data on men's and women's access to credit and information services, such as agricultural extension programs, are needed for an understanding of women's limited access to important production inputs. The data also indicate the effectiveness of projects and programs in providing such services to women.
Third, there should be an increased emphasis on collecting panel data (thee series) to facilitate snore detailed analyses of changes in household behavior over time. Because full panel surveys are costly, it may be necessary to adopt less-expensive panel methods and combine them with flexible data collection. Anthropological and participatory research methods can be used to enhance the quality and relevance of formal survey questions, as well as to provide a "reality check" on formal survey responses.
Finally, greater priority needs to be given to gender-disaggregated analysis of existing data sets. This analysis should be carried out not only in social sectors such as health and education but also on such issues as the intrahousehold allocation of time and labor and access to and use of productive resources.