Manager, Gender and Big Data, Data2X

  • Mid-level, Full-time staff position
  • Posted on 1 March 2019

Job Description

Data2X is a collaborative technical and advocacy platform dedicated to improving the quality, availability, and use of gender data in order to make a practical difference in the lives of women and girls worldwide. Data2X works with UN agencies, governments, civil society, academics, and the private sector to close gender data gaps, promote expanded and unbiased gender data collection, and use gender data to improve policies, strategies, and decision-making. We are an alliance housed at the United Nations Foundation.

Our Digital Data Work

There is great excitement about the role of digital (big) data sources for global development, yet there are few examples showing what this data can and cannot achieve, and until recently, efforts have not explored gender issues. In March 2017, Data2X completed Phase I of its Big Data and Gender work and released the flagship report “Big Data and the Well-Being of Women and Girls.” This report summarized learnings from Data2X pilot investments, demonstrating how satellite imagery, call detail records, credit cards, and social media can improve understanding of the needs of girls and women. In May 2017, Data2X announced Phase II: the Big Data for Gender Challenge, which called on researchers to propose innovative ways to use big data sources to fill gender data gaps. Data2X selected 10 projects to receive awards, and announced the Challenge award winners in September 2017. The Phase II projects are currently in the final stages of implementation, and the results will be shared through briefs, reports, and convenings in 2019-20.

Data2X is now designing its strategy for Phase III of our Digital Data and Gender program. We plan to explore uses of mobile phone data, including call detail records and application data from smartphones. We will emphasize moving beyond proofs of concept and into the construction of national-scale systems. We will also complement the projects by addressing gender-relevant privacy concerns arising with the broadening use of mobile phone data. Finally, we will address issues of algorithmic bias/transparency with a gender lens. In addition to our in-house expertise, Data2X will build and lead a community of practice with existing researchers focused on gender and digital data.

The Position

Data2X is hiring a Gender and Big Data Manager. The role will lead our digital data and gender program portfolio, including completion of Phase II activities and strategic planning and implementation of Phase III work.

The position will not entail primary research, but will require oversight of a diverse array of research projects; of special importance is the ability to provide general technical feedback. We are thus seeking candidates with research experience working with diverse digital data types, e.g., from mobile phones and applications, remote sensors, financial transactions, and internet activity. This experience should include a record of peer-reviewed research, strong links with the academic community, and the proven ability to communicate scientific findings to the general public and a policymaking audience. Given the focus in Phase III, we especially value past experience with mobile operator and smartphone application datasets.

Technical understanding of digital data - and a desire to seek practical applications for social good - is a primary consideration for this role; Data2X will provide additional support and training around specialized gender issues as needed. Depending on availability, Data2X is open to hiring either a full-time employee or a consultant with significant time to dedicate to this role.

Duties and Responsibilities

The position will entail the following duties and responsibilities, split below into the ongoing Phase II and the upcoming Phase III. The hire will support activities for Phase II and take the lead in all activities for Phase III.

Phase II (2019)

  • Based on past learnings, build and refine the Phase III strategy, including by meeting with experts and potential partners/grantees.
  • With input from Data2X staff, represent gender-relevant issues at key meetings/international fora, and with key stakeholders including GSMA and the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL).
  • Write 1-2 page project briefs for grantee projects drawn from research papers.
  • Provide technical feedback to grantees through regular project update phone calls and tracking.
  • Write grantee team thematic papers around the topics of mobility and physical security, access to financial services, and challenges and opportunities to using mobile operator data in gender research.
  • Design dissemination strategy for grantee work, including project briefs, technical reports, and other outputs.
  • Write internal and external discussion papers on algorithmic bias and gender.
  • With guidance from Data2X Communications and Advocacy colleagues, write blog posts and develop public-facing descriptions of Data2X’s digital data work.
  • Assist in designing research convenings and presentations, including through developing strategic
  • objectives and key outcomes sought.
  • Convene and set agenda for gender and digital data community of practice.
  • Support Data2X colleagues in strategy and efforts to secure additional funding for Phase III activities.
  • Identify new partnerships and relationships for Data2X to extend the influence of this work.

Phase III (2020-)

  • Design strategy for research and advocacy around gender, privacy, and algorithmic bias, including exploring possible partnerships to institutionalize use of digital data for monitoring the wellbeing of women and girls.
  • Design strategy to fund projectized solutions to privacy and algorithmic bias issues.
  • Design competitive grant process, including thematic focus, funding tranches, and grantee requirements.
  • Manage competitive grant process, including outreach to academic, policy, private sector, and professional networks to publicize competition.
  • Develop criteria for selecting grant winners and oversee selection process.
  • Provide technical feedback to grantees and monitor grantee progress.
  • Design dissemination strategy for grantee work, including project briefs, technical reports, and other outputs.
  • Serve as spokesperson for gender and digital data issues on behalf of Data2X.
  • With guidance from Data2X Communications and Advocacy colleagues, write blog posts and develop public-facing descriptions of Data2X work.
  • Assist in designing research convenings and presentations, including through developing strategic objectives and key outcomes sought.

Selection Criteria

  • MS or other advanced degree in a field relevant to the position (data science, statistics, computer science, etc.), with a record of peer-reviewed publications or strong work history in the above field
  • Experience with and enthusiasm for project management and positive momentum among multiple collaborators (e.g. grantees/researchers).
  • Experience working with a diverse array of digital datasets.
  • Interest and passion for gender equality, and ways that data can help drive these efforts.
  • Strong familiarity with statistical and algorithmic bias.
  • Strong writing, public speaking, presentation, and meeting facilitation skills.
  • Orientation toward teamwork and collaboration.
  • Ability to meet regular attendance/tardiness policy.
  • Ability to work under pressure and handle stress.

Benefits & Compensation

For full-time, benefit eligible employees, UNF offers an excellent range of benefits, including:

  • A choice of two health plans through CareFirst (PPO or HDHP with HSA),
  • dental insurance,
  • Vision discounts,
  • flexible spending accounts,
  • 403b retirement savings plan with a generous matching contribution,
  • group term and supplemental life insurance,
  • short-term disability,
  • long-term disability,
  • health club discounts,
  • commuter benefits, and
  • employee assistance program.

Additionally, all benefit eligible employees have 12 paid holidays, 20 vacation days, 10 sick days, 3 personal days, and 8 weeks of parental leave.

About the Organization

The United Nations Foundation links the UN’s work with others around the world, mobilizing the energy and expertise of business and non-governmental organizations to help the UN tackle issues including climate change, global health, peace and security, women's empowerment, poverty eradication, energy access, and U.S.-UN relations.

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