Feminist Data Toolkit

We collect gender data using the tools we’ve acquired from training in feminist research methods and participation in global women’s movements. Here’s what we stand by.


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1. “No research about us, without us”.

Women’s analyses of their own situations guide our research and influence our recommendations. Everywhere in the world there are local women’s movements, so we usually start by listening to them.


2. Use the feminist library.

Our analyses of inequality, poverty, violence and insecurity are informed by leading feminist thinkers from all over the globe. When we want to understand a problem, we go to them first.


3. There’s no substitute for fieldwork.

We collect “thick data” by walking with women, waiting with women, listening to women, and learning from women. Getting out where people live to understand their everyday lives helps us identify trends and evaluate the quality of statistics. For rapid evaluations where we can’t get to the field, we draw on existing “slow research.”


4. Institutional ethnography.

Mapping how policies and programs actually get implemented – including in ways that go off the books – can highlight gaps in quantitative evaluations and feed into program iteration. We give thanks to feminist sociologist Dorothy Smith for developing this practical mode of institutional analysis.


5. Think intersectionally.

Women’s movements and good feminist scholarship deal with intersecting drivers of inequality like class, geography, race, age, history and sexuality. We don’t shy away from a nuanced analysis – we embrace it.


6. Open source technology.

Digital tools help us collect comparable quantitative data to measure and track patterns of gender inequality. We use open source tools so that we can leave them behind for our partners to track progress over the long-term.


7. Stories are data with soul.

…and women’s stories are gender data with soul. We put gender data into historical, political, and economic context. And we communicate it in a way that compels people to take appropriate, meaningful, radical action.