Measure What Matters: Data to leave no one behind

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Measure What Matters Conference 2020


The IDM is the result of a decade of research. The Measure What Matters Global Conference will showcase a ground-breaking Australian-led initiative that transforms the way in which poverty is measured. 

This April, world leaders in data and gender inequality will gather in Canberra to discuss the intersection between poverty, gender, and data. The program will highlight global efforts to close the gender data gap and leave no one behind.

The Global Conference will run from 6 – 8 April 2020 at The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

To help reduce barriers for attendance, we are offering financial assistance of up to $2,000 in addition to full sponsored registration. Apply for a scholarship now. 


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Keynote Speakers

We are thrilled to have three exceptional keynote speakers join us for the conference.

An outline of the program is now available, below. Attendees will hear from thought leaders about measurement innovations, why they matter, and their implications for policy and programming, advocacy and change.

Panel discussions will explore the twin challenges of poverty and inequality and ways to accelerate action.

Sarah Bradshaw
Professor of Gender and Sustainable Development, School of Law, Middlesex University

Dr Sarah Bradshaw is a Professor in Gender and Sustainable Development and Head of the School of Law at Middlesex University, London. A feminist and a scholar-practitioner, her work focusses on gendered rights, poverty and poverty alleviation, and household decision making. While living in Nicaragua in the late 1990s, working with women’s groups and movements, the experience of Hurricane Mitch led to a new research focus on gendered disaster risk reduction and response. She has undertaken work with various development agencies including the UNDP and DFID and with major INGOs such as Oxfam. As a member of the UNSDSN’s thematic network on human rights she wrote the background report on gender for the UN’s High Level Panel charged with developing the first draft SDGs. Sarah combines research with practice, having lobbied around World Bank policies, advocated for the inclusion of gendered rights in UN processes, and engaged in inter-governmental negotiations around international policy frameworks.

Papa Seck
Chief Statistician, UN Women

Papa Alioune B. Seck has led statistics and data at UN-Women since 2009. Papa led the development of UN Women’s Women Count global initiative, to improve the production and use of gender data and to help countries monitor the Sustainable Development Goals from a gender perspective and has led its implementation since 2016. He also developed the Evidence and Data for Gender Equality (EDGE) programme in 2012, in collaboration with the UN Statistics Division, resulting in innovative new standards and measures to measure asset ownership and entrepreneurship from a gender perspective. He has co-authored several editions of UN-Women’s Flagship Reports and contributed to various other research products. Prior to joining UN-Women, Papa was Statistics Specialist in UNDP’s Human Development Report (HDR) Office, co-authoring three global HDRs and co-edited a book on Risk, Shocks and Vulnerability and their impact on human development (Palgrave MacMillan 2010).

David Hulme
Professor of Development Studies at the University of Manchester

David Hulme is Professor of Development Studies at the University of Manchester where he is Executive Director of the Global Development Institute, CEO of the FutureDAMS project and CEO of the Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre. He has worked on rural development, poverty and poverty reduction, microfinance, the role of NGOs in conflict/peace and development, environmental management, social protection and the political economy of global poverty for more than 30 years. His main focus has been on Bangladesh but he has worked extensively across South Asia, East Africa and the Pacific.

Marilyn Waring
Professor of Public Policy at Auckland University of Technology

Dr Marilyn Waring, Professor of Public Policy at Auckland University of Technology, is a renowned feminist, political economist, former New Zealand politician, author and activist for women’s human rights and environmental issues. At 22 Marilyn became the youngest member in the New Zealand Parliament and only the fifteenth woman ever elected. By 24, she was Chairperson of the Public Expenditures Committee. She travelled to over 35 countries in this capacity, discovering that international accounting systems do not count many things – notably the work of women and the cost of environmental damage. Her subsequent work has focused on changing this. Known as the principal founder of the discipline of feminist economics, Marilyn’s books include Counting for Nothing: What Men Value and What Women are Worth (1999), If Women Counted: A New Feminist Economics (1988), Still Counting: Wellbeing, Women’s Work and Policy-making (2018) and Marilyn Waring: The Political Years (2019). Marilyn was made a Dame in New Zealand’s 2020 New Year’s Honours for her service to women and economics. She was one of the BBC 100 Women 2019, the theme of which was The Female Future. Other awards and honours include Visionary Leader winner, Deloitte New Zealand Top200 (2018), Economist of the Year, New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (2014), and being one of the 1000 Women nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. An sustained critic of the concept of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Marilyn’s advocacy for a more inclusive understanding of economic, social and environmental value has influenced academics, government accounting in a number of countries, and United Nations policies.

Program Outline

DAY 1 Mon, 6th April

3.30 – 5pm
Coffee cart and networking spaces available.
5 – 6pm
6 – 7pm
Sarah Bradshaw - Professor of Gender and Sustainable Development, Middlesex University, UK

Preceded by Welcome to Country

Professor Bradshaw will speak to the gendered nature of poverty and the importance of gender-sensitive and multidimensional approaches to identifying, measuring and understanding poverty.

DAY 2 Tues, 7th April

7.30 – 8.30am
Coffee cart available
8.30 – 9.30am
Why measuring what matters, matters

Welcome to Country

MC introduces Day 2

Welcome to ANU


Opening remarks from the three IDM program partner institutions, ANU, IWDA and DFAT, outlining the drivers of their involvement and what participation in the IDM’s development has contributed to their strategic directions and on behalf of their core stakeholders.

9.30 – 10.30am
The IDM journey: From critique to alternative

Presentations to introduce the unique aspects of the Individual Deprivation Measure, provide an overview of the ten years of research that underpins it and the wider work to shift thinking and debates about what matters in measuring poverty.

10.30 – 11am
11am – 12.30
New methods: New insights

This panel will build on the opening high level overview of the power of the IDM to provide deeper discussion of key aspects of the IDM that are not addressed by other measures of poverty, such as time use. The session will highlight the ability of the IDM to illuminate the intersection of gender and other individual characteristics, such as (dis)ability and age.

12.30 – 1.20pm
IDM Technology Prototype booth open to explore
1.30 – 3pm
Composite measures and gender equality

This session will explore the opportunities and challenges in developing composite indices to support action on gender equality, discussing multiple new indices to provide greater insights into change and what enables it. Panellists will draw out both normative and technical aspects of composite measurement and key decisions that contribute to rigorous and coherent indices.

1.30 – 3pm
New methods, new insights II

The IDM sampling strategy seeks to interview every adult member of the household.  This presents specific ethical and methodological challenges, which are explored in this session. The lessons learned in implementing IDM surveys for other survey work are examined.

3 – 3.30pm
3.30 – 4.30pm
Papa Seck - Chief Statistician, UN Women

Papa Seck will discuss the relationship between data and change, and the role of gender-sensitive data in making visible the gendered dimensions of poverty and inequality. He will speak to global, regional and national efforts to make every woman and girl count, and UN Women’s work with partners to address inter-related policy, legal, resourcing, technical and capacity challenges to transform the gender data landscape.

4.30 – 5.30pm
Closing gender data gaps: Opportunities and directions in the Pacific

This moderated panel discussion will explore gender statistics in the Pacific in the Decade of Delivery including gender data gaps and their impact, and regional priorities to address these. It will discuss investments in capacity to collect and use gender data, including intersectional data, and its value in realising commitments to leave no one behind. The session will also explore where IDM data fits in addressing data gaps and making individual lives visible in data.

5.30 – 9.30pm

International guest speaker Dr Marilyn Waring will give a keynote address at the Conference dinner.

DAY 3 Wednesday, 8th April

8.15 – 8.30am

Acknowledgment of country

MC introduces Day 3

8.30 – 9.30am
David Hulme - Professor of Development Studies, the University of Manchester, UK

This address will explore Agenda 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals SDGs and the global role of gender sensitive data and responsive policy in achieving global commitments.

9.30 – 11am
Who is left behind, where and how: Findings of the IDM Indonesia study

Among middle income countries, Indonesia is relatively data rich. Yet the relevance of nationally representative data at the local level is not always apparent, and may not provide policy-makers with the detail and nuance needed to fully understand the nature of poverty and effectively develop policy and allocate scarce resources.  In this session, key findings of the IDM Indonesia study will be presented, with a focus on their relevance for decision making. The session will explore the ways in which IDM data complements existing data in Indonesia and the value of the IDM for planning at the national level.

11 – 11.30am
11.30am – 1pm
Data to policy and programming

This session includes presentations highlighting the relevance of the IDM to policy makers, and explores the ways in which research is able to inform policy.

11.30am – 1pm
New methods, new insights III

This session explores new insights into the nature, location and drivers of poverty and inequality that are possible with individual-level, multidimensional deprivation data, using IDM data from Fiji.

1 – 2pm
IDM Technology Prototype booth open to explore
2 – 3.30pm
Nationally representative, gender sensitive data: The IDM in South Africa

The IDM study in South Africa was a nationally representative sample, with a purposive sample of people with a disability. This session presents key findings.

3.30 – 4pm
4 – 5pm
The IDM in context; future directions

This session will provide an opportunity to identify and respond to key and emerging issues that have been surfaced through conference discussion and contextualise their meaning and implications for the goals of individual, gender-sensitive, multidimensional measurement.

Closing statements from ANU and IWDA outline future directions beyond 2020

Jacqueline Paul
Senior Gender Adviser with the World Food Programme

Dr Jacqueline Paul, the Senior Gender Adviser with the World Food Programme (WFP), will join us at the Measure What Matters Global Conference in April to speak on the Composite measures and gender equality panel.

This session will explore the opportunities and challenges in developing composite indices to support action on gender equality. The session will particularly focus on drawing out the key decisions that contribute to rigorous and coherent indices.

Jacqueline has played a key role in the development of the WFP’s new ‘Gender Equality for Food Security’ (GE4FS) measure, a globally-applicable instrument designed to illuminate the interconnectedness of dis/empowerment and food in/security.

Assisting some 87 million people in around 83 countries each year, WFP is one of the world’s leading humanitarian organizations delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Jacqueline leads the integration of gender in WFP’s work, across humanitarian action and development programming.

Dr Michaela Saisana
Head of the European Commission's Monitoring, Indicators and Impact Evaluation Unit at the Joint Research Centre

Michaela Saisana is the Head of the European Commission’s Monitoring, Indicators and Impact Evaluation Unit at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra, Italy. Michaela is a scientist and engineer with a specialisation in process optimisation and spatial statistics. She is a TED-speaker and she strongly believes in the power of indices and scoreboards that can help policy makers see the “big picture” on multidimensional phenomena related to social, economic, health and environmental issues. Her team works also on identifying which policies bring benefits to the lives of the citizens. Through her work on auditing performance indices she has collaborated with over 150 international organizations and world-class universities, including the United Nations, OECD, Transparency International, the World Economic Forum, INSEAD, the World Intellectual Property Organization, Yale University, Columbia University, and Harvard University. She has a PhD in Chemical Engineering and in 2004 obtained a European Commission prize as “best young scientist of the year”. Together with her team, she was also awarded the “JRC policy impact award” for the Social Scoreboard of the European Pillar of Social Rights in 2018.


Professor Juliet Willetts
Director of International Development Research at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS

Professor Juliet Willetts is an international development researcher, expert advisor, and mentor dedicated to influencing policy and action to alleviate poverty.

As Director of International Development Research at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, she is a globally recognised expert on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). She was commissioned by the Australian Government with colleagues to write a framing paper on gender equality in the water sector, which helped to ensure that the High-level Panel on Water clearly recognised the issues facing women and the focused attention they require. Juliet is also Academic Co-Chair of the Research for Development Impact (RDI) Network’s steering committee.

Professor Willetts is currently leading research to develop a new tool to capture the inter-relationship between WASH and gender equality, the WASH Gender Equality Measure. She is widely published and was named one of the Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence in 2018.

Register now

Register now to secure your place. More speakers will continue to be announced as panels are finalised. To to be alerted to key conference updates, sign up for emails via the form below.

We look forward to seeing you in Canberra in April!

Measure What Matters Conference 2020

What is the IDM?

The Individual Deprivation Measure (IDM) is a new, gender-sensitive measure of multidimensional poverty. It is a ground-breaking measure developed to assess deprivation at the individual level, overcoming limitations of current approaches that measure poverty at the household level.

The current IDM Program is a partnership between the Australian National UniversityInternational Women’s Development Agency and the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Download this 2-page infographic for an overview, or watch the short video below to learn more about this ground-breaking measure:

Image of a thumbnail from IDM video, the picture is of an animated globe over the top of a dark blue background with individual I figures surrounding the globe.

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