Issue: Youth and adults with ICT skills (disaggregated by sex)

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

An estimated 90% of jobs will soon require skills in ICT, yet the % of women in computing jobs declined between 1991 and 2015, from 36% to 25% (and even lower for women of colour). Yet the world has a shortage of 200 million workers with ICT skills. These skills are particularly empowering for women in their social roles as family caretakers and their production roles, with ICT often reducing the need to travel for work, overcoming barriers to access to information and increasing their economic opportunities, thus contributing to poverty alleviation.

This is an official SDG indicator, SDG 4.4.1 (tier II), though global averages are not yet available and data are only available for 42 countries. The Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development was established in 2004 and has developed a core list of indicators of which 12 are disaggregated by sex (excl. mobile phone related use and programming skills).

Issue: Comprehensive sexuality education in national curricula

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

According to the UN, up to 2/3 of girls in some countries said they had no idea what was happening to them when they began menstruating, and in 2016 only 1/3 of young women had comprehensive and correct knowledge on how to prevent HIV infection. The Guttmacher Institute has reported that 9/10 teachers surveyed in Ghana taught students that condoms do not prevent pregnancy. SDG 4 provides no specific targets for CSE, but SDG 5 has a target on access to sexual and reproductive health information in the context of health systems, rather than education. This stems from the political dynamics of the SDG agenda negotiations and the cultural and religious sensibilities around CSE.

Current methods of measurement for this issue are based on UNESCO’s guidance, captured in a report that provides voluntary guidelines on CSE, which is available to education ministries. A UNFPA report (2015) on evaluating CSE programmes laid the groundwork for building indicators and variables for an ‘empowerment’ approach to CSE. The report makes the case for universal indicators, with the limited variation in definitions and approaches to CSE offering the potential for an indicator framework.

Issue: Early childhood development (by sex)

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Early childhood development (ECD) is a cost-effective way to improve adult health, education and productivity. Gender discrimination, combined with son preference, means that young girls receive less nutrition, and fewer opportunities to play and access early learning than young boys, which has impacts on their entire life, i.e. stunting. Equitable ECD can also steer girls into non-traditional gender roles through early socialization, helping them to challenge gender stereotypes.

Universal measures to quantify ECD are lacking, particularly for the youngest children. ECD is covered by an official SDG indicator (SDG 4.2.1), and household surveys such as the UNICEF-supported MICS have collected data on this indicator through the Early Child Development Index (ECDI) in low- and middle-income countries since around 2010, although the data-collection approach is being revisited. Another promising initiative is the WHO 0-3 measurement tool, which aims to develop two harmonized tools to measure child development for children 0-3 years. These tools will allow regional, national and global monitoring as well as programmatic evaluations among children in specific populations of interest.