INTER-AGENCY CONSULTATION ON
STATISTICS AND DATA BASES ON GENDER
IN AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
Rome, 24-26 September 1991
SUMMARY OF THE UNITED NATIONS AGENCIES' WORK ON
STATISTICS, DATA BASES AND GENDER
Tuula Ripatti, ESHW, FAO
Anita Spring, Consultant, FAO
FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION ESH/ESS 91/INF.5
OF THE UNITED NATIONS
ORGANISATION DES NATIONS UNIES POUR September 1991
4 7 L'ALIMENTATION ET L'AGRICULTURE
ORGANIZATION DE LAS NACIONES UNIDAS
PARA LA AGRICULTURE Y LA ALIMENTACION
Agencies were requested to prepare brief statements on
their work related to the collection and use of statistics on
the role of women in development (WID) and on gender-
disaggregations performed by their Organizations.
Specifically, they were asked to:
a. Summarize the type of existing data relating to the role
of women in the statistical compilations of their agency
as disaggregated by rural/urban and by agriculture/non-
b. Describe any special action undertaken or envisaged to
establish a data base on women in rural development.
c. Provide plans to promote and improve availability of
statistics and indicators related to including data on
WID at the national level.
d. Comment on case studies, projects and surveys undertaken
at sub-national level that provide baseline data and
statistics on WID.
e. Provide suggestions and recommendations on future
programmes of work and inter-agency collaboration
regarding gender-disaggregated statistics and data base.
Thirteen Agencies provided briefs in time for the
compilation: The African Development Bank; Asian Development
Bank; Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW); FAO;
HABITAT; IFAD; ILO; INSTRAW; UNESCO; UNFPA; UNIDO; UNIFEM and
In order to analyze all the information, three tables
were prepared. They are presented in document ESH/ESS
91/INF.4. This paper summarizes the information in a
1.1 Types and Sources of Data
While only a few agencies are active in the large-scale
collection of primary statistical data, most are involved in
one way or another in compiling data available from various
sources. These sources of data range from official
publications, large-scale questionnaires and national
statistics to the Agencies' own project documentation and
administrative records. The types of data may be categorized
Information in sections 1.1 and 1.2 is retrieved from
Table 1 of the Compilation of the Agencies' Briefs
as follows: general data collection, general data compilation
and collection of gender-specific data on the agency's
(i) Agencies that collect international statistical
FAO collects data on agricultural censuses and
agriculture surveys, on food consumption and
extension services. HABITAT collects data related
to human settlements, while ILO collects labour
statistics; UNESCO collects educational
statistics; and UNFPA collects population
(ii) Agencies that compile international statistical
DAW produces a statistical series on women and
governmental decision-making; UNESCO compiles data
on illiteracy and educational attainment collected
by UNSO; and UNIDO compiles data on manufacturing
industries collected by UNSO.
(iii) Agencies that collect and compile gender-specific
data on their own project performance
IFAD computerizes data on the targeting of women
in IFAD projects; UNIFEM collects and uses gender-
specific data for programming and project
activities; and WFP has data available on project
1.2 Data on Gender in Agriculture and Rural Development
The availability of data by gender varies widely. FAO's
agricultural census data are only occasionally tabulated by
gender. Although data on gender are collected through FAO's
own extension records, they are not generally tabulated
thusly. HABITAT, ILO, UNESCO and UNFPA report availability of
gender-disaggregated data. As for the industrial statistics
compiled by UNIDO, problems occur as to the small number of
countries forwarding data on female employees and wages.
2 FAO collects but does not generally tabulate data by
gender on its employment and extension services.
Data disaggregated by rural and urban and by agriculture
and non-agriculture are even more sporadic. FAO's data
generally concern the rural and agricultural sectors only.
Regarding primary statistical data collected and/or compiled
by other Agencies, only HABITAT reports availability of data
by rural/urban Two agencies report the availability of some
data by agricultire/non-agriculture: ILO on part of its
labour statistics and UNESCO for agricultural and other
fields of study in second level and higher education.
The above somewhat bleak picture on availability of data
by gender in rural and agricultural development is only
slightly improved by the fact that some Agencies compile data
on a smaller scale or on their own activities. DAW provides
data on the legal status of rural women while IFAD
computerizes data on targeting of women in its rural
2. Actions Concerning Statistical Indicators, Data Bases
and Sub-National Data Related to Gender in Agriculture
and Rural Development
2.1 Actions Concerning Statistical Indicators
Several UN Agencies are involved in a variety of
activities concerning the development of statistical
indicators that reflect gender factors. The Asian Development
Bank, IFAD, INSTRAW and UNIFEM have focused on the
improvement of gender-specific indicators. HABITAT, ILO and
UNESCO have attempted to include gender-specific indicators
in their general programme of work in the field of
statistics. With respect to the types of action undertaken in
this field, agencies are involved in establishing indicators,
improving measurement indicators and assisting governments.
This concerns HABITAT data related to human settlements
on population, housing, infrastructure, services and
land use. Data on economy are not disaggregated by
rural/urban nor by agriculture/non-agriculture.
Statistics on employment and economically active
population rates are available by agriculture/non-
agriculture. Statistics on weekly working hours and
weekly wages are available for non-agricultural sector
Information is based on Table 2 of the document ESH/ESS
(i) Establishment and collection of indicators
The Asian Development Bank is currently completing
the collection of 46 indicators on various aspects
of development, with particular reference to
women's involvement. HABITAT has established a
series of National Shelter Strategy Indicators
that also contains gender-specific indicators.
IFAD has compiled indicators on the situation of
women for 114 developing countries for two bench-
mark years (1965 -and 1985) and UNESCO has
developed basic standards for collection and
classification of educational data.
(ii) Improvement of measurement instruments
ILO has developed and promoted the use of
appropriate measurement instruments which,
although not aimed at improving measurement if
women's labour participation only, benefits women
more than men due to the general underenumeration
and omission of women from labour statistics.
INSTRAW has undertaken research and organized
training programmes on the improvement of gender-
specific concepts, methods and compilation of
statistics. Recently, special attention has been
given to improving statistics on the participation
of women in the informal sector.
(iii) Assistance to Governments
FAO has developed "Guidelines on Socio-Economic
Indicators for Monitoring and Evaluation of
Agrarian Reform and Rural Development" that
contain various indicators pertaining to the role
of women and men in agriculture, and that have
been distributed to Member Governments in order to
assist them in continued reporting on FAO's World
Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural
Development (WCARRD). ILO provided assistance to
Governments in the production of reliable labour
statistics. UNFPA supported various activities of
national statistical services (such as censuses,
statistics registration systems and population
registers) by organizing training and information
campaigns. Several UNIFEM projects provided
assistance in the collection and analysis of
national statistics by gender.
2.2 Actions Concerning Data Bases
The first concentrated effort towards the establishment
of a gender-specific data base was taken between 1984 and
1987, with the establishment of WISTAT in the UN Secretariat
with support from INSTRAW, UNFPA and UNSO. Since then, some
agencies have established gender-disaggregated data bases,
while others have decided to include gender-specific data in
their existing general data bases.
(i) Agencies involved in the establishment of gender-
specific data bases.
The African Development Bank is finalizing its
data base to include both quantitative and
qualitative WID data. IFAD has established a data
base specifically on gender in agriculture. UNIDO
is currently establishing a Women in Industry data
base that will include quantitative, qualitative
and bibliographic data. Available rural data will
be inserted. FAO has undertaken preparatory work
to consider a data base at the sub-national level
on women and men in agriculture and rural
development. UNFPA has funded the creation of a
data base on women and population through the
International Statistical Institute.
(ii) Agencies that have inserted gender-specific data
into existing data bases.
HABITAT is integrating gender-specific data in its
Human Settlements Statistical Data Base. ILO
reports that gender-specific data can easily be
drawn from its main data base. FAO has undertaken
preparatory work to insert statistical indicators
in its main data base.
2.3 Actions Concerning Sub-National Data
Sub-national data produced by the Agencies fall into two
categories: specific surveys, case studies and studies; and
project or programme related data.
(i) Agencies that report-specific studies, surveys or
DAW carries out comparative analyses on the
functioning of national machineries for the
advancement of women. FAO's technical divisions
carry out surveys and case studies that are
specifically WID-related under its Plan of Action
for the Integration of Women. The WFP and the
Asian Development Bank's case studies and surveys
6 United Nations Women's Indicators and Statistics Data
Base for Microcomputers.
include gender analysis and country-specific WID-
related papers respectively. ILO studies by
various departments include sub-national
statistical data, while UNIDO's country case
studies produce mainly quantitative data on
women's role in various sectors of industrial
development, including small-scale rural
(ii) Agencies that produce sub-national statistical
data through project and programming activities.
IFAD is currently finalizing a series of case
studies on the participation of women in and the
impact of their projects. Diagnostic socio-
economic studies are also conducted as part of
project formulation activities. ILO is producing
data through its technical cooperation projects.
INSTRAW has carried out pilot project s for
compiling and analyzing statistics from secondary
sources on women in the informal sector in four
African countries; and UNIDO is promoting the
collection and analysis of gender-specific data in
2.4 Forms of Inter-Aqency Collaboration
Inter-Agency collaboration has taken place in terms of
data sharing, meetings, project and programme implementation
(i) Interchange of data
HABITAT reports an interchange of data with other
UN Agencies, while UNIFEM has collaborated on the
collection and use of statistical data with UNSO,
INSTRAW, ESCWA and UNFPA, as well as with selected
national women's, machineries and government
offices. The Asian Development Bank, FAO and IFAD
reported using data produced by other agencies.
(ii) Consultations and meetings to promote Inter-Agency
Although not specifically related to gender, FAO
organized an FAO, World Bank and UNSO Technical
Consultation to plan and coordinate programmes
(i.e, FAO's WCARRD Socio-Economic Indicators; the
World Bank's Social Dimensions of Adjustment; and
UNSO's National Household Survey Capability
(iii) Project/programme implementation
INSTRAW has developed its research and training
programmes related to statistics jointly with
UNSO, and has carried out collaboration with
relevant regional commissions, while UNFPA has
collaborated with UNDTCD for the execution of
field projects related to data collection and
Based on WISTAT and in collaboration with UNIFEM,
UNFPA has published the Compendium of Statistics
and Indicators on the Situation of Women in 1986.
UNSO, UNICEF, UNIFEM, UNFPA and the Centre for
Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs have
prepared, as a joint effort, the compilation the
publication entitled The World's Women. 1970-1990.
(v) Data bases
As noted above, UNSO, INSTRAW, UNFPA, have been
involved in the development of WISTAT, while IFAD
has included data from FAO/AGROSTAT and
UNSO/WISTAT in its data base.
3. Actions Envisaged by Agency and Recommendations for
Inter-Agency Collaboration Regarding Statistics and Data
Bases on Gender in Agriculture
3.1 Future Action Envisaged by the Agencies
Nearly all Agencies represented express a commitment to
work towards the improvement of gender-specific data
collection and analysis in one or several spheres of action.
(i) The African Development Bank, HABITAT, ILO, UNFPA
and UNIDO expressed a commitment to the general
improvement of measurement instruments and data
availability, including better inclusion of
gender-specific data, while INSTRAW intends to
intensify efforts to improve statistical systems
and its gender-coverage through research and
training, in particular
Information on this Section is based on Table 3 of the
document ESH/ESS 91/INF. 4.
For example, INSTRAW plans to produce a training manual
to be used as a basic guide for the compilation of
statistics and indicators.
(ii) FAO plans to set up a data base on women and men
in agriculture, while Agencies such as HABITAT and
IFAD will focus on updating their newly
established data bases in near future;
(iii) Development of indicators is envisaged by the
African Development Bank, the Asian Development
Bank, and the FAO.
3.2 Recommendations for Inter-Aqency Collaboration
First, most agencies noted the need for studies to
identify data gaps and to determine priorities in order to
improve data coverage (DAW, FAO, INSTRAW, UNIDO). Second,
along these lines, the need to improve the collection,
compilation and analysis of data on wome0 and .n gender was
suggested (Asian Development Bank, FAO) Second, it was
recommended that better training is needed for government
officials, extension workers, researchers and relevant
institutes to carry out this work (FAO, INSTRAW, UNIDO) .
9 FAO plans to develop qualitative and especially
quantitative indicators for monitoring the
implementation of the Plan of Action. Furthermore,
development of instruments for measuring women's
contribution and participation in the informal
agricultural sector is envisaged. Asian Development Bank
has underway a technical assistance project to establish
socio-economic indicators reflecting women's
1 E.g., increased country coverage and increased
disaggregation by gender and by rural/urban are
recommended by FAO.
FAO recommends that national data bases should be
established and related technical assistance provided in
order to promote the development and use of statistics
on women in agriculture. INSTRAW recommends the
promotion of training programmes to sensitize national
agricultural offices in the importance of collecting and
analyzing gender-sensitive statistics. In particular,
development of training materials providing guidelines
is recommended by INSTRAW.
Third, there should be cost sharing by the agencies in
this collection, analysis and dissemination (FAO, UNIDO) and
there should be inter-agency collaboration in sharing data
bases, project data publications, etc. (Asian Development
Bank, UNIDO, WFP) .
Fourth, some agencies recommended that there should be
the development and adoption of common gender-sensitive
indicators to monitor and assess the situation of women in
the capacity of both th4ir agricultural and non-agricultural
roles (HABITAT, UNIDO).
Finally, these data need to be collected into data
banks, that reflect sub-national and national coverage, with
a preference to integrate WID into existing data bases and to
obtain some micro-level data as well as data aggregated at
the national level (Asian Development Bank, FAO, HABITAT)
1 Asian Development Bank recommends the establishment of
a consultative committee, at FAO's initiative, for the
exchange of WID related data on agricultural and rural
development statistics and publications.
1 Towards this end, establishment of a multi-disciplinary
inter-agency working group is recommended by UNIDO.
HABITAT also recommends the inclusion of gender-specific
data in commonly used indicators in order to avoid use
of separate gender-specific indicators.
1 On the basis of reciprocity in setting up and
maintaining, FAO envisages the establishment of a data
base on women and men in agriculture (recommended also
by Asian Development Bank). Furthermore, it is envisaged
that this data base would be a part of an international
data base on women the establishment of such a general
data base, through inter-agency collaboration, is also
recommended by HABITAT.