Shanna Crumley on rooting data practices in equity for inclusive societies




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On the occasion of International Women’s Day and its 2023 theme #EmbraceEquity, the Datasphere Initiative spoke to a range of policy professionals in the Datasphere Initiative’s global network, to ask them: why equity should be a core goal in policy and technical approaches to responsibly unlocking the value of data?

Shanna Crumley, Director, Impact Data Science, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth shared her perspectives and identified specific actions that can be taken.

Read more about the campaign and other contributions here

There are examples all around us showing that if we don’t root our data practices and policy decisions in equity — equity in access to resources and opportunities and across genders, races, abilities, and backgrounds — we risk embedding inequities in the rapidly evolving technology and data systems impacting our lives.

At the same time, data can serve as a tremendous tool to illuminate and amplify underrepresented voices and experiences that will help us build more inclusive, resilient, and equitable societies.

Rooting ourselves in equity first and then building upon that foundation is the only way for us to achieve social progress that works for everyone.

We believe that social progress happens at the neighborhood level, yet cities and communities aren’t always able to harness the full potential of data and technology for decision-making. We launched the Data for Equity program with the Centre for Public Impact to help city leaders leverage data assets to drive equitable economic and social policies and to share insights with each other, spurring innovative data approaches to equity at the local level.

Our partner at Washington University’s Social Policy Institute has honed in on community engagement and racial equity in their approach to data for social impact. Their new, free online DSI course for nonprofits emphasizes building organizational data capacity with and for the communities they serve.

Shanna leads the Center’s mission to build the field of impact data science, engaging data scientists, academia, nonprofits, and other relevant organizations to accelerate progress. Shanna has worked at the intersection of technology and social impact in multiple sectors, including social impact strategy consulting, social entrepreneurship in the digital identity space, foreign policy, and international development. Most recently, she was the Senior Innovation Advisor at the NYC Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer, where she managed an innovation portfolio building data science capacity within City agencies.

Shanna holds a master’s in International Affairs and Social Policy from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs and a BA from Pacific Union College. She is based in New York City.

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