Reading Development

Random readings on society, politics and change – Jorge Carrillo

Big Data and the Well-Being of Women and Girls

This report illustrates the potential of big data in filling the global gender data gap. The rise of big data, however, does not mean that traditional sources of data will become less important. On the contrary, the successful implementation of big data approaches requires investment in proven methods of social scientific research, especially for validation and bias correction of big datasets. More broadly, the invisibility of women and girls in national and international data systems is a political, not solely a technical, problem. In the best case, the current “data revolution” will be reimagined as a step towards better “data governance”: a process through which novel types of information catalyze the creation of new partnerships to advocate for scientific, policy, and political reforms that include women and girls in all spheres of social and economic life.

This report profiles several big data projects that quantify the economic, social, and health status of women and girls.

  • The first project, described in Section II (“Geospatial Data”), uses satellite imagery to greatly improve the spatial resolution of existing data on girls’ stunting, women’s literacy, and access to modern contraception
  • The second project, profiled in Section III (“Digital Exhaust”), utilizes anonymized credit card and cell phone data to describe patterns of women’s expenditure and mobility in a major Latin American metropolis.
  • The third and fourth projects, profiled in Section IV (“Internet Activity”) concentrate on the expression of ideas and emotions on the social media platform Twitter.
  • The final project locates signals of depression in a large database of publicly available tweets from women and girls in India, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The project uses machine learning techniques to identify genuine self-disclosures of mental illness

[Download report]

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This entry was posted on Friday, 24 March 2017 by in Gender, Innovation and tagged , .
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