"Data not only measures progress, it inspires it."
Those words from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may have been the most quoted at "Evidence and Impact: Closing the Gender Data Gap," an event co-hosted Thursday by the Department of State and Gallup.
Secretary Clinton went on to say: "As we have learned in this country, what gets measured gets done. Once you start measuring problems, people are more inclined to take action to fix them because nobody wants to end up at the bottom of a list of rankings."
Clinton's comments summarize perfectly why we do what we do at Gallup -- that is, collect data about how the world's people think and behave -- and share that knowledge with the world. We know that quality data is critical to helping leaders to truly understand their populations -- and to choose the best course of action to inspire development and progress.
The goal of Thursday's event was to encourage more collection, analysis, and use of gender-specific data in particular -- as a way of narrowing gender gaps worldwide and improving the lives of women and girls everywhere.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim also spoke at the event and reiterated the World Bank's commitment to the collection and dissemination of such data, announcing a new Gender Data Portal where users can find existing gender data from a variety of sources in one place.
Secretary Clinton also announced a new initiative called Data 2X, in which the Department of State will partner with key data organizations, including the United Nations, World Bank, OECD, PARIS21, and Gallup, to begin to fill priority gaps in gender-sensitive data.
We think about data every day at Gallup. But it's not every day that so many leaders and thinkers are gathered together to discuss the power and potential of collecting quality data on the most important issues we face together.
Secretary Clinton also acknowledged, "Data only becomes valuable when it is organized and put to work." We couldn't agree more.