To fight discrimination, we need to fill the LGBTI data gap


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Despite some progress in the past two decades, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people continue to face widespread discrimination and exclusion around the world.  Many of them suffer from punitive laws and policies, social stigma, and even violence. They may also be subject to lower educational attainment, higher unemployment rates, poorer health outcomes, as well as unequal access to housing, finance, and social services. As a result, LGBTI people are likely overrepresented in the bottom 40% of the population.
The adverse impacts on the health and economic wellbeing of LGBTI groups—as well as on economies and societies at large—tell us one thing: exclusion and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) is a serious development issue. 

We’ve already taken the first steps to address this issue, such as quantifying the loss in productivity, but there is still a long way to go. Robust, quantitative data on differential development experiences and outcomes of LGBTI people is crucial, but remains scarce especially in developing countries. Such a research and data gap poses a major constraint in designing and implementing more inclusive programs and policies.
The World Bank’s SOGI Task Force—consisting of representatives from various global practices and country offices, the Gender Cross-cutting Solution Area, as well as the GLOBE staff resource group—has identified the need for quantitative data on LGBTI as a priority. 
On Zero Discrimination Day, the World Bank’s Senior Director Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez and SOGI Advisor Clifton Cortez explain the urgent need to fill the LGBTI data gap. They’ve also discussed why inclusion matters for development , as well as what can be done to end poverty and inequality for LGBTI and other excluded groups.

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Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez

Senior Director for the Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice

Join the Conversation

March 01, 2017

Are there any specific data needs or dataset or indicators that you want collected or have planned?
Is there any sample data collected in one country that you want expanded to others?

Clifton Cortez
May 23, 2019

Yes, there are specific data needs that we have identified and that the World Bank, with others, will focus on addressing. Following the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals UNDP led a global consultative process, in which the World Bank participated, that resulted in consensus on the highest priorities for addressing the LGBTI data gaps. These priorities all fall within 5 categories: political and civic participation; personal security and violence; economic wellbeing; health; and education. The World Bank will now lead, with UNDP, the second part of this global consultative process which will focus on arriving at consensus on the most important/relevant indicators under each of those 5 priority areas. Once identified, these indicators will be foundational for new research and data collection efforts on the lives of LGBTI people.  As well, the World Bank has a particular interest in new data collection efforts as relates to education, as well as economic opportunity.