The data revolution is changing the way citizens share knowledge, demand services and interact with each other, their public representatives, and private organizations.

Experts assure that liberating data can promote transparency and accountability while helping develop new targets and indicators. However, people with disabilities are in a crusade of their own to achieve inclusion in all aspects of life.

According to a report by the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD, 2017), “in critical data, knowledge gaps remain with many groups, particularly the most vulnerable and marginalized. Furthermore, more data need to be available at the level of disaggregation, including by gender, age, income, location, education or disability.

Consequently, how are people with disabilities engaging with this data revolution? Are they being counted (in measurements, disaggregated figures, and analytics) and do they feel included in the global debate on social data gathering, big data and new technologies?

Let’s take the election technology industry as one example.

Disability - elections

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) guarantees political rights to people with disabilities. First by highlighting the importance of accessible voting processes, election information and the right to stand for election, and second, by advocating to form and join their own organizations and participate in political life.”

Social data can give visibility, help to monitor, and offer informed reports about some of the most pressing challenges around the political participation of people with disabilities, including vulnerable groups such as women and the youth. Hence programs and services should be well designed to include all election stakeholders effectively.

Election technology -supported by reflective data-  could contribute, for instance, to guarantee accessibility and user-friendliness of voting booths and electronic machines.

Despite current global debates on how to better gather and use data on people with disabilities; the data revolution can help put disability at the forefront of development. Therefore, new technologies -including election systems- are urged to commit and take the plunge with the rest of society.

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