Governments recognized the importance of statistics on women for development planning in 1975, at the World Conference of the International Women’s Year in Mexico, and reiterated the relevance of such data at the second world conference in Copenhagen in 1980. Responses by governments and international agencies led to the first reports and publications with statistics about women.
The recognition that information on men is also needed in order to adequately describe the situation of women resulted in a shift in focus from statistics on women to statistics on gender. In 1985, governments attending the Third World Conference on Women in Nairobi agreed to develop or reorganize their national information systems to compile and disseminate statistics on women and men in order to better address gender issues. As a result, many national statistical offices and international agencies began preparing user-friendly booklets with statistics that compared the situation of women and men in many aspects of life.
In 1995, the Beijing Platform for Action, adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women, urged national, regional and international statistical services to ensure that statistics related to individuals are collected, analysed and presented by sex and age, and reflect problems, issues and questions related to women and men. More recently, in the outcome document of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century", governments resolved to provide national statistical offices with the institutional and financial support required to collect, compile and disseminate data disaggregated by sex, age and other factors.