Big Data, Big Impact? The Future of Gender-Sensitive Data Systems

Andrew J. Zahuranec
Nov 1 · 2 min read

Data can be instrumental to reducing gender inequalities, but achieving this progress depends on reducing gaps in the data and promoting responsible systems to use it. Data2X, an alliance on gender data hosted at the United Nations Foundation, and The GovLab at NYU are leading these efforts.

On Tuesday, November 12, Data2X and The GovLab will host a daylong panel series, Big Data, Big Impact? The Future of Gender-Sensitive Data Systems. The conversations will focus on how data can help tackle issues affecting women and girls. Decision-makers from the private and civil sectors will also discuss ways they can foster a secure, durable, and policy-relevant data ecosystem that represents and provides benefits to its subjects.

After a networking breakfast and welcoming remarks by Data2X Executive Director Emily Courey Pryor, attendees will have the opportunity to attend various sessions on data’s importance to gender-related topics. Panels span several topics, from management of gender-sensitive data systems to the values of gender-related initiatives.

These discussions are the culmination of a five-year research program on big data and gender. With 120 high-level attendees, it will feature ground-breaking projects on critical issues affecting people around the world.

The GovLab’s participation in the effort is part of its ongoing collaboration with Data2X through The 100 Questions Initiative. An effort to identify the most transformative societal questions answerable through data and data science methods, Data2X provides financial support and expertise in improving the quality, availability, and use of data in the gender domain. It also plays an advisory role in all other domains where gender is relevant. The organization is helping identify a global community of “bilinguals,” practitioners across fields who possess both domain knowledge and data science expertise.

The GovLab previously partnered with Data2X in studying gender and urban mobility in Santiago de Chile. In that project, the two organizations in addition to others secured access to anonymized call detail records through the framework of a data collaborative. A new form of collaboration beyond the public–private model in which participants from different sectors exchange data to create public value, the work advanced the study of gender gaps in urban mobility. It confirmed urban mobility is gendered; the needs of women and girls are rarely taken into account in transportation planning.

The GovLab is thrilled to continue this collaboration. Anyone interested in attending the panel series is encouraged to sign up via Eventbrite. Anyone interested in the 100 Questions Initiative can visit or contact Stefaan Verhulst, lead of the initiative, at

Data Stewards Network

Responsible Data Leadership to Address the Challenges of the 21st Century

Andrew J. Zahuranec

Written by

Research Fellow at The GovLab

Data Stewards Network

Responsible Data Leadership to Address the Challenges of the 21st Century

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