The ‘Missing Women’ in Data Protection Reporting

8 Pages Posted: 31 Dec 2019

See all articles by Elizabeth Coombs

Elizabeth Coombs

University of Malta

Kara McKee

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: December 5, 2019


Virtually everything we do these days is recorded digitally and stored as data. In the midst of all this data, it can come as a surprise to know there are gaps.

A case in point is data on women, or rather, the absence of data about women. Decisions about what gets measured, variables chosen, and the interpretation of results has seen “the female-shaped ‘absent presence’ – the gender data gap” (Criado-Perez, 2018). While research has shown the right to privacy is accorded and experienced differently by gender, there is little, if any, exploration of whether this effect is reflected in interactions with data protection regulation.

This question was examined by reviewing the public documents of the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC) and the most recent annual reports of the 122 accredited Data Protection Authority members of the ICDPPC. The findings revealed a gender gap in privacy data. This is examined in terms of the right to privacy and gender, and the confidence citizenry can have that data protection regulation and policy making in the 21st Century is reflective of larger societal and contemporary trends. These findings are examined against earlier observations and recommendations concerning the need to strengthen the evidence base available for privacy policy making.

Suggested Citation

Coombs, Elizabeth and McKee, Kara, The ‘Missing Women’ in Data Protection Reporting (December 5, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Elizabeth Coombs (Contact Author)

University of Malta ( email )


Kara McKee

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics