Equal Measures 2030 – Making the lives of girls visible

Every Girl Counts - Plan International

Pasanna Mutha-Merennege

09 Mar, 2018

This post forms part of ACFID’s blog series leading up to the Australian Sustainable Development Goals Summit 2018. To learn more about this series, read the introductory blog post. To learn more about ACFID’s work on the SDGs, visit this page on the ACFID website.

Leave no on behind is the driving force behind the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is a universal call to action and a challenge to all nations to place front and centre those who are most vulnerable and marginalised, in the pursuit to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

For nations and for civil society, the principle of leaving no one behind poses a powerful challenge to make visible the lives of individuals and communities experiencing the greatest inequality and injustice.

For the half a billion adolescent girls in the developing world, data and statistics have proved to be some of the most important tools in making visible to government and decision-makers the barriers that girls face in realising their rights to education, good health, economic equality and safety. Data is the key to developing the solutions that will contribute to not only improving the lives of girls but also ensuring that they are not left behind in progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In 2016, Plan International released Counting the Invisible, a report that revealed girls are effectively invisible to governments and decision-makers because they are simply not counted.

The report found that there is little to no data on the real life challenges for girls, such as how many girls drop out of school due to early marriage, pregnancy or sexual violence or how many girls under the age of 15 experience intimate partner violence.

The report highlighted the urgent need to strengthen the collection of data to capture the experiences of girls aged 10 to 19, and to break down existing data to give a more complete picture of the reality of girls’ lives based on disability, religion, ethnicity, sexual identity, age, location and socio-economic status.

Plan International, driven by its global purpose to transform the lives of 100 million girls, is playing an important role in making visible girls’ lives through data and evidence.

In 2017 we partnered with KPMG, Data 2X, Women Deliver and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to form Equal Measures 2030, an independent civil society and private sector-led partnership connecting data and evidence with advocacy and action for women and girls’ rights. The Equal Measures 2030 partnership works to:

  • Compile data and evidence and provide analysis – using a range of quantitative and qualitative sources – to highlight gender gaps in outcomes, measure progress for girls and women, and identify evidence-based solutions.
  • Work with girls’ and women’s movements, and other rights advocates, to influence policies and decisions and achieve the 2030 Agenda for girls and women through evidence-based advocacy.
  • Engage decision makers with improved data, evidence and analysis, and advocate for better and more consistent gender data collection, analysis and use, to accelerate progress towards gender equality.

At the global level, Equal Measures 2030 is tracking progress towards the SDGs for girls and women by evaluating national gender-related laws and policies as well as the resourcing, financing and outcomes of those decisions, through a new SDG Gender Index.

In order to measure whether countries are on track to meet the ambitious goals of the SDG framework, and achieve gender equality, Equal Measures 2030’s Index, which is to be launched in September 2018, compiles data on a wide-range of issues at the national level that are crucial to the rights of girls and women (from health and education to economic empowerment), and that extend beyond just Goal 5 (the SDG dedicated specifically to gender equality).

At a national level, the partnership has focussed on six initial focus countries (Colombia, El Salvador, India, Indonesia, Kenya and Senegal), to gather country-specific data sources to better track progress towards the SDGs for girls and women in that country.  The work delves further into specific gender-related themes or issues – driven by the priorities of our national influencing partners.

Equal Measures draws on official and complementary data specific to each country, and generates data visualizations, research and stories to ensure that data and evidence is driving advocacy and action in our focus countries.

Data is a powerful tool in ensuring that no person is left behind in driving progress towards 2030 and the fulfilment of the SDGs. Civil society and government must commit to gathering the evidence needed to ensure that adolescent girls are visible and remain a priority on the development and policy agenda and in pursuit of the SDGs.

This post has been adapted from a submission collected by ACFID on behalf of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to Australia’s Voluntary National Review on the 2030 Agenda. Australia will deliver its first Voluntary National Review (VNR) on the 2030 Agenda at the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in July 2018.

  • Pasanna Mutha-Merennege
    Pasanna Mutha-Merennege

    Pasanna Mutha-Merennege is Plan International's Policy and Government Relations Manager. Pasanna is an expert in gender transformative laws and violence against women and girls. Prior to joining Plan International, she contributed to major family violence reforms as Policy and Campaigns Manager of Women's Legal Service Victoria. She headed up the national network of Women's Legal Services Australia driving change to Australia's family law system. Pasanna has a background in legal policy, working to reform criminal laws in her role at the Department of Justice. She volunteered with UN Women as a Gender Advisor in the Solomon Islands and prior to that, worked as lawyer in both corporate and community law.

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