World leaders have set a goal of gender equality by 2030, yet experts caution that it can’t happen if data gaps are not solved. One noted, “Data saves lives. It captures the attention of policy makers and focuses their efforts on the right issues.” That is, as advocates put it, we must “count women” if we are to garner large-scale support and resources for women and girls. To learn what this emphasis looks like in implementation, I asked international development practitioners how gender-related measurement is carried out at their project sites—and with what effects? What I heard resonates with the words of former USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios: focusing on measurement is important, yet it also “ignores a central principle of development theory… programs that are [the] most transformational are the least measurable.”

In June of 2018, after tortuous weeks of hinting, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed Matter of A-R-C-G, a 2014 case recognizing some types of domestic violence claims as a valid basis for asylum in the U.S. Utilizing a rarely employed mechanism, the AG certified a case, Matter of A-B-, to himself in order to instruct Immigration Judges under his authority to cease  considering domestic violence claims legally sufficient for asylum. The case, technically a Memo from the Attorney General to Immigration Judges, appears at first blush to merely reverse A-R-C-G-, but Sessions went much further. The decision is racist, misogynistic, and dehumanizing. It bears all the ugly hallmarks of the world’s rising nativist leaders.