Welcome to the United Nations

1. The Evidence and Data for Gender Equality (EDGE) Initiative is a new partnership that seeks to accelerate existing efforts to generate comparable gender indicators on health, education, employment, entrepreneurship and asset ownership. This initiative was launched in May 2011 by the United States at the OECD Ministerial Session on Gender and Development and builds on the work of the United Nations Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Gender Statistics.

2. In 1995, the UN Beijing Platform for Action identified 12 critical areas of concern, and urged Governments to regularly collect statistics related to each of these areas, to serve as a basis for monitoring progress and evaluating the impact of policies. Despite this and other commitments in intergovernmental processes, there remain major gaps in the availability, quality and comparability of gender statistics. The EDGE initiative aims to fill some of these gaps.

3. Initially, this initiative will cover the period from July 2012 to December 2015. Activities during this first phase will include three elements: (1) the development of a platform for international data and metadata compilation covering basic health, education and employment indicators; (2) the development of standards and guidelines for measuring entrepreneurship and assets indicators; and (3) piloting data collection on entrepreneurship and assets in several countries.

4. This initiative contributes to implementing UN Women’s management results framework, as outlined in its Strategic Plan 2011-2013, specifically to institutionalize a strong culture of results-based management, reporting, knowledge management and evaluation and to enhance organizational effectiveness. It also contributes to the UN Statistics Division’s global gender statistics programme, including its components of international data compilation and development of metadata, as requested by the UN Statistical Commission.

5. Consistent with these results, and the clear imperative for evidence-based policy-making, the longer-term aim of this initiative is to gradually build a cost-effective and sustainable model to integrate gender issues into regular statistical production and to build countries’ capacity to produce gender data in all policy areas. For example, while this first phase focuses initially on the aforementioned areas, the same model could be used to collect data on important yet often neglected areas such as violence against women.

6. To achieve these goals, the proposed initiative will establish a participatory mechanism that will be guided by a steering committee, composed of members of the UN Statistical Commission mandated Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Gender Statistics, regional commissions, regional development banks and key agencies that coordinate statistical work including the World Bank and the OECD. In particular, the World Bank will play a key role in helping developing countries mainstream gender statistics into national statistical systems, including strengthening data collection necessary to inform critical gender policy issues. The OECD, on the basis of their extensive work on indicators on gender equality in education, employment and entrepreneurship, will contribute to data compilation by sharing statistics and metadata, and will contribute to the methodological work related to the development of new indicators, particularly in the area of women’s entrepreneurship. The project will also benefit from strong guidance from the UN Statistical Commission (UNSC) and the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). To create further leverage, this initiative will also foster a culture of dynamic knowledge sharing, by promoting networking and facilitating technical collaboration between project countries.

7. The estimated cost of the programme over three years is approximately US$ 6,000,000 which will include costs related to methodological development of international standards for measuring entrepreneurship and asset ownership, with related capacity building and pilot data collection in five countries. Once these standards are developed, we anticipate that data collection in each additional country not included during the first phase will cost on average approximately US$ 150,000 to cover training, data processing, data analysis and publication and dissemination of results.

8. Given that available funds currently consist of US$ 3.66 million, the initial budget covers five pilot countries and a reduced scope for some planned activities. However, resource mobilisation efforts are underway to generate additional funds, which will enable the full EDGE programme, including 10 pilot countries, to be implemented.

Primary Division:
Funding source:
Donors:Australia, Canada, Republic of Korea, Unitead States of America, UNWomen
Project dates:July 2013 – December 2017
Thematic areas:,