”Data does not always tell the whole picture.”
The United States is “among the 10 most dangerous countries for women,” announced a “perception poll” published on Monday. Christina Sommers, a critic of identity politics and contemporary feminism, contacted the Thomas Reuters Foundation, which conducted the survey, to examine their methodology.
First, the report: Upon release, the survey touted one big finding: The US is the only Western country to have made the list, which presumed to measure and rank how women experience threat in different countries.
Reuters explained this finding as a result of increased awareness to women’s issues galvanized by the #MeToo movement.
Topping the list are India, Syria and Afghanistan.
When it comes to sexual violence, the poll found the US shares third place with Syria.
Reuters reached these conclusions by asking “about 550 experts in women’s issues which of the 193 United Nations member states they considered most dangerous on a range of issues.”
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Enter Sommers: Sommers was quick to chide the report’s methodology. “Sad to see such shoddiness,” she tweeted.
Bogus study alert.Thomson-Reuters Foundation ranks USA as 3rd worst country in WORLD for sexual violence, worse than Congo & Pakistan. Methodology? It asked assorted gender experts for their “perceptions.” Sad to see such shoddiness @TR_Foundation https://t.co/4Gt5AXPxeN pic.twitter.com/KuqZukzVWN
— Christina Sommers (@CHSommers) June 26, 2018
She contacted the foundation to get a better understanding on what sort of experts were surveyed, and what they based their impressions on. She tweeted out Reuters’ response on Thursday.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation ranks the US among “THE WORLD’S 10 MOST DANGEROUS COUNTRIES FOR WOMEN.” Methodology? It polled some “experts” on their “perceptions.” Here is answer I received when inquired about names and affiliations of experts. @TR_Foundation pic.twitter.com/0CjGQrSqfY
— Christina Sommers (@CHSommers) June 28, 2018
”Perception”: Reuters first clarified that the survey was “totally based on perception, not data.” They elaborated:
”Data does not always tell the whole picture. Data is not always available on women-related issue[s] in many countries. Nor do perception polls tell the whole picture. But experts who know the situation on the ground can shed light on this.”
Which raises the question: Who are the experts?
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“Experts”: This seems to be the crux of the matter for Sommers. Reuters’ definition of experts was left vague.
The overarching criteria for experts, according to the foundation’s response to Sommers, was that they “needed to be working in a field related to women’s issue.” This could range from “health, education” to “Microfinance.”
Reuters emphasized that they “did not weight career” and “gave an assurance” of confidentiality to participants.
Out of the 548 experts included in the survey, 111 were from the Americas.
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