U.S. Government Increases Focus on Gender-Sensitive Data: Leading Foreign Assistance Programs Avail Gender-Sensitive Data to Improve Policy and Development Decision-Making

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
December 15, 2014


At today’s Data2X event in New York City, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom along with former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, jointly committed to Data2X’s mission to promote gender-sensitive data. Deputy Secretary Higginbottom underscored the importance of gender-sensitive data for building an evidence base that will lead to more effective policy and development decisions. She also announced that, for the first time, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief’s (PEPFAR) newly redesigned PEPFAR Dashboards will now include data disaggregated by age and sex. This is part of the U.S. government’s commitment to making the empowerment of women and girls a foundational goal of U.S. foreign policy.

Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) CEO Dana J. Hyde and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, M.D., joined Deputy Secretary Higginbottom at the event and highlighted the U.S. government’s commitment to advancing the status of women and girls through increased availability, accessibility, and use of gender-sensitive data. Integrating the use of data-driven decision making in policy and development, and making information available to the public, improves the effectiveness of policies and programs, as well as expands the potential for reaching more people. PEPFAR and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) are making important strides in this area.  

Through PEPFAR, data disaggregated by age, sex, and geography help target and tailor the program’s efforts, which include addressing the disproportionate burden of HIV/AIDS borne by women and girls. PEPFAR’s data show that, in many countries, HIV prevalence among young women aged 15-19 can be up to three times higher than men of the same age. Earlier this year, PEPFAR launched the PEPFAR Dashboards, which make all of the program’s data publicly available. The Dashboards enable all stakeholders, including U.S. citizens, civil society organizations, U.S. government agencies, donors, and partner-country governments to view and utilize PEPFAR data in an accessible and easy-to-use format. Making this data public allows PEPFAR, and every country and organization dedicated to an AIDS-Free Generation, to better target their efforts to combat HIV/AIDS and increase accountability for achieving results.  

Since its founding 10 years ago, MCC has been a world leader in data transparency and data-driven development. As part of the U.S government’s commitment to Data2X, MCC will make all if its gender data public by the end of this year and undergo a systematic process to improve future sex-disaggregated data. MCC is also collaborating with Data2X, the United Nations Development Programme and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to analyze and propose ways to include sex-disaggregated data on results into the International Aid Transparency Index reporting standards. Finally, MCC is working with PEPFAR and other partners to sponsor an open data challenge to incentivize the use of gender data to improve gender policy and practice, as well as to raise awareness of challenges that women and girls face around the world.

The United States sees a historic opportunity next year in the Post-2015 Development Agenda to garner global convergence around transformative goals, such as gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, and the U.S. government strongly believes that advancing gender equality is among the most transformative goals the globe can set. Critical to this effort is adoption of a more data-driven approach, and improving the quality and quantity of data available to individuals to shape goals and monitor progress. Strong, measurable targets, and sex-disaggregated data to track them, can lead to dramatic improvements in gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls by 2030. The United States will continue to play an active role in this process, recognizing a well-crafted set of goals will enable governments, civil society, the private sector, and individual citizens to synchronize efforts to address the most pressing problems the world faces in the coming decades.