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4 min

Beyond numbers: reuse of data to visualise gender gaps in the City of Buenos Aires

Multiple women talking.
Written by
Marisa Miodosky
Published on
January 29, 2019

How can we inform the residents of the City Buenos Aires about the existing disparities between women and men in the city in a simple way? How can we present this information in a way that resonates with different people? And, how can we unpack detailed statistical indexes into something that’s digestible? The city of Buenos Aires joined the first Gender Do-a-Thon, organized by Open Heroines, during the International Open Data Conference held late last year, in order to answer these questions and present the City’s Gender Indicators System.

The first step to eliminate gender gaps is to identify them. The Gender Indicator System (GIS) presents statistical and registry data which comprehensively breaks down data into the impact on female and males within the city of Buenos Aires. The GIS includes sociodemographic, economic and political indicators about men and women, in an open and accessible format to download and analyse.

This data is collected from a variety of sources including City’s official polls, national surveys and records from government services. All data is processed by the Department of Statistics and Censuses, which guarantees its accuracy. Since its launch in March 2018, the system has become a valuable resource for journalists, academics and activists, fostering the quality of public discussion with official data.

Four steps to visualise and communicate stories with data

Even if data is available, how can we approach the general public who most likely doesn’t even know about the existence and potential power of this data in a meaningful way? Communication and data experts from Russia, Croatia, USA and Spain participated in the roundtable of the Do-a-thonto try and think through this issue creatively. Collaborating with the group gave us an idea about how different cities use data to visualise the gaps. This lead us to developing the a four-step methodology to tell stories with data by turning these numbers into issues that resonate:

Step 1 — Find a story to be communicated based on the data available in the system.

Step 2 — Identify a target, which people are we trying to reach.

Step 3 — Identify how to communicate the content in a way that resonates with this group of people. For this, it is necessary to understand what issues are important to them.

Step 4 — Define the most appropriate format to communicate the story to them and figure out where you can go to reach them. Is it Facebook or the local supermarket bulletin board?

Results in action

Following the International Open Data Conference, we put these four steps into at the first gender data camp organised by the city Council and the Government of the City. We focused on the uneven distribution of unpaid work (home and family care) as well as the pay gap. Together with data experts, students and activists, we created prototypes based on the data provided by the GIS. Five innovative prototypes were developed, with two outstanding examples:

It is not help, it is shared responsibility: A campaign for shared responsibility for family care

The campaign “It’s not help, it’s shared responsibility” is trying to highlight the inequalities in the distribution of unpaid domestic work between men and women. The idea is to promote greater participation of men in these tasks and foster a shared responsibility scheme. The target audiences are young and adult women and men who live or commute in the city of Buenos Aires, who will be seeing this campaign through social networks and images shown in screen located at subway stations and public offices.

“$in brecha” (No gap): a web page to attain the expected salary

For most women, it is hard to even know what is g fair pay when looking for a job — the information is just not there. Moreover, according to a report from Bumeran, an online job portal, Argentinian women who apply for senior and mid-senior positions indicate an expected salary that is 15% below than men’s expectations. In order to overcome this issue, the app “$in brecha” (No gap) allows people to adjust the expected salary according to variables of age, education (scholarship years), type of sector (public or private), activity field and experience (years of experience in the type of job wanted.) The webpage links are fed data from the Annual Housing Survey as well as from job posting portals that people would use in their job hunt-work as information sources.

Team on a meeting.

The creators of both of these great campaigns were awarded 20 hours of paid work to develop their proposals and put them into the public domain them in public. Things are moving quickly, with a session last week with the winning teams, refining the tasks, putting together a work schedule to launch in just a couple of months.

We’ll keep reporting from Buenos Aires on how the campaigns are progressing to come, with more blogs with lessons we are learning too!

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