Indicators as Substitute for Policy Contestation and Accountability? Some Reflections on the 2030 Agenda from the Perspective of Gender Equality and Women's Rights

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Thanks to successful strategizing by women's rights organizations, attention to gender equality and women's rights is remarkably wide‐ranging in the 2030 Agenda. But the ambition to have gender equality as a crosscutting issue tends to evaporate at the level of targets and indicators. This speaks to the difficulties of using quantitative indicators to capture the largely context‐specific and qualitative dimensions of gender equality. Ultimately, some of the concerns about the huge significance attached to the measurement imperative stems from the inordinate weight that the global indicators framework is carrying, effectively substituting for substantive contestation on key policy issues and meaningful accountability mechanisms.