Animated video urging better sharing of domestic work amid the pandemic a winner of UN Women’s Gender Data Datathon


UN Women spoke to two Georgian colleagues and researchers – Gvantsa Jibladze, a social researcher, and Dako Bakhturidze a gender data specialist and monitoring and evaluation consultant – who made up one of the two winning teams of the Gender Data Datathon organized by UN Women and ForSet, a creative data design and technology enterprise based in Tbilisi, Georgia. Organized as an extension of the 2020 Tbilisi DataFest, the Datathon engaged 60 participants divided into six teams that competed to develop the best data product based on the results of UN Women’s Rapid Gender Assessment (RGA) of the impacts of COVID-19 on women and men in 13 countries in Europe and Central Asia. The winning female duo – with the technical support of a graphic designer – Tamta Bakhsoliani - created an animated video about how dramatically the pandemic has increased the burden of unpaid work on women from different groups. 

“What we wanted to say with this video was that although both women and men were impacted by COVID-19, not all women were affected in the same way. There are differences and inequalities between [different groups] of women and men in times of crisis, including this pandemic,” explains Bakhturidze. “This was the main point we wanted to make.” 

The video begins with data on how women’s burden of care and domestic work increased by 49% compared to men, on average across the region, with wide variation across countries. Viewers then meet cartoon Ann, who is married, has children, is employed and living in an extended family, learning that for women like her, the domestic burden became twice as high as it was before COVID-19. The video ends with the message: “Ease the burden. Share the domestic work!”

“In order to identify solutions, it is imperative to identify the problem,” says Bakhturidze. “Gender data is the starting point… without data, we cannot name [or quantify] problems correctly… for example, people think that the gender wage gap is just when men and women are not paid an equal salary for the same position – but as a gender data specialist, I know that the gender wage gap is much broader than that.” 

Reflecting on the challenges for using and illustrating gender data, Jibladze says: “Gender data are more complex than sex-disaggregated data. They require more qualitative and in-depth information. And how we present that data to audiences is very important. The messages must be clear and easily understandable. So data visualization is very important in this regard.” They were also supported by Tamta Bakhsoliani, a graphic designer, in preparing the animation video.

Bakhturidze and Jibladze agree that there is a need for far more gender data to understand the unique impact of the COVID-19 crisis on women compared to men.

The duo also see a need for more unique opportunities, such as datathons, to collect gender data in general, including on other topics. The Datathon was organized as part of two UN Women projects, “Good Governance for Gender Equality in Georgia” programme, which is being implemented with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, and the Women Count regional gender data programme for Europe and Central Asia. The Women Count programme is built on the premise that sustainable improvements in how gender data are collected and used require adequate resources and planning, good coordination and well-trained stakeholders. 

The winning team equally underlined how bringing gender data to light can be a powerful tool for increasing the agency of women and girls. “Girls need to remember that working with gender data is a good opportunity to raise their voices. … Be curious, explore and be brave in this area [that is seen] as a male profession,” concludes Jibladze. 

For Natia Mestvirishvili, Gender Data Specialist at UN Women Country Office in Georgia, data visualizations are powerful tools for advocacy and awareness raising: “Good data visualizations tell stories that are more convincing to people than any other form of communication. This video tells a data story on the disproportionate impact of pandemic on diverse groups of women and we clearly need more data visualizations like this, as many other stories around gender inequality still remain untold.”