New report released on tackling gender inequalities through investments in CRVS systems

Written by Jessica Espey

In a new report, TReNDS illustrates the return on investment for women and girls when resources are put towards CRVS.    Source   : Centre of Excellence for CRVS Systems; Dominic Chavez/World Bank

In a new report, TReNDS illustrates the return on investment for women and girls when resources are put towards CRVS. Source: Centre of Excellence for CRVS Systems; Dominic Chavez/World Bank

Our lives are made up of significant events: births, deaths, marriages, divorces. These are what define our human experience and are the events that tie us to our communities, including the state in which we live. For governments, tracking these events is vitally important to know population numbers, status, support systems, wellbeing, mortality, and so on. And yet all too often, the systems that monitor such events are woefully inadequate.

Civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems (which record these vital events) are imperative to our understanding of people at the national and local levels, and serve as a significant source of information in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Without these systems we cannot provide effective services for everyone, we cannot reach all that need our help, and inevitably we leave people behind. This is particularly apparent when we look along gendered lines; the experiences of women, girls, and non-binary people are often least reported, putting up barriers to their access to identification, services, education, asset ownership, and so on. Investing in these systems is therefore paramount.

TReNDS is pleased to announce the release of a new report, “The Costs and Benefits of CRVS as a Tool for Women’s Empowerment,” part of the three-brief series of “Why CRVS systems matter for women and girls” from the Centre of Excellence for CRVS Systems, housed at the International Development Research Centre. The paper, one of four in the recently released brief, illustrates the return on investment for women and girls when resources are put towards CRVS.

It notes that a relatively modest investment is needed through 2030 in order to build these essential CRVS systems–just 1 percent of current official development assistance (ODA). Indirectly, these investments will support better accounting for women and girls and other marginalized communities, thus ensuring better participation for them in the mechanisms of sustainable development.

For example, CRVS systems ensure greater access to identification (e.g. driver’s licenses), which are more often than not necessary for political participation or engagement in the labor market. They also ensure women have rightful access to inheritance after a spouse’s death or assets after a divorce, and can protect young girls against child marriage by legally proving they are underage through a birth certificate. These examples show that by counting everyone, we include everyone, and ensure no one is left behind.

You can read more about CRVS systems and their impact on women and girls in “Why CRVS systems matter for women and girls,” and more on the return on investment in CRVS in TReNDS’ and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data’s case study from the Value of Data series.