UNStats, Esri Produce “Story Map” on SDG 5



13 May 2019: A “story map” on women and sustainable development draws on geospatial information to address women’s economic empowerment, women’s voices, and women’s safety and human rights. The story map was produced by the UN Statistics Division (UNSD), through the Global Gender Statistics Programme, in collaboration with Esri, ahead of the fourth annual Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) for the SDGs (STI Forum).

The story map, titled ‘Women and Sustainable Development: Building a Better Future,’ illustrates how a geospatial perspective can enhance the analysis of gender indicators to support SDG follow-up and review processes. For example, Esri states that GIS users create the “methods and means of engagement required” to identify day-to-day activities needed to design and ensure successful SDG implementation. The story map presents a global perspective, shares examples from the national level, and features relevant graphics.

On women’s economic empowerment, the story map highlights the gender gap in labor force participation, and identifies a number of constraints that contribute to women’s reduced freedom to participate in the labor market, such as limited access to education, access to finance and ownership of assets, higher age gaps at marriage and unavailability of parental leave. A map illustrates the challenge globally. At a national level, stories illustrate labor force patterns for men and women in Ireland between 2007-2018, the progression of gender equality within Palestine’s labor market, and progress towards gender equality in Mexico.

On women’s voice, the story map notes the importance of including women’s voices in design, implementation, follow-up and evaluation of decision-making processes at national and local levels. The story describes how women’s participation in public discourse can promote social change and progress, and shares evidence on how laws that discriminate against women are more likely to be repealed when at least 25% of members of parliament are women. Similarly, developing countries with higher shares of women parliamentarians are more likely to pass laws on sexual harassment, domestic violence and related topics. The story map identifies challenges in data to track progress, including on women’s political participation at a local level, and provides a map of female representation in politics in Ireland.

On women’s safety and human rights, the story map underscores violence against women as an obstacle to achieving equality, development and peace, and states that women and girls are denied human rights “almost everywhere around the world” simply because of their gender. The story map features a graphic on the number of countries with select women’s rights and requirements in the law. It states that addressing harmful practices that threaten the safety and violate the rights of women and girls will be critical in achieving SDG 5 and ensuring progress across all SDGs. The map concludes with a story of early marriage in Palestine.

UNSD and Esri built the story map on the Federated Information System for the SDGs Platform, also known as the SDG Hub. Esri software powers the data management and mapping platform, and allows participating countries to share statistical data to local data hubs. Francesca Grum, UNSD, explains that the SDG Hub enables statistical agencies from participating countries to highlight data for their country “quickly and easily and to share actionable information.” Grum reported that the story map process took only eight weeks, underscoring the potential to quickly and efficiently assemble stories when data is available and accessible.

According to Esri, the GIS community is contributing to a “Geo Nervous System” for the planet, to allow people to create data that contributes to the SDG framework. The website states that geospatial data and analysis are necessary to calculate many SDG indicators.

The fourth STI Forum convened from 14-15 May 2019, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, under the theme, ‘STI for ensuring inclusiveness and equality.’ [Story Map] [Geospatial World News Story] [Esri GIS and Sustainable Development Website] [STI Forum Webpage] [IISD Coverage of STI Forum]