This International Women’s Day, we are celebrating some of the women who are part of the International Development Team (IDT) at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and their contribution towards shaping high-quality statistics that help improve lives globally.

The International Development programme collaborates with national statistical offices in developing countries to enhance statistical modernisation. The team is committed to working closely with our statistical partners and sharing best practices to build capabilities and provide technical assistance.

The IDT is dedicated to promoting inclusivity and launched a Women into Leadership programme to address the under-representation of women as leaders in African Statistics Offices. The programme aims to upskill talented women in the African Statistical Service and equip them with the expertise required to lead their organisations.

Emily, Rachel, Sarah, Natalie and Grace work towards promoting women’s inclusion and empowerment in our partner organisations and throughout the statistical world.

Emily, Head of the International Development Team

“I am incredibly proud of the progress that our team has made. I am particularly proud that our partner countries’ positive feedback has enabled us to secure our own Overseas Development Assistance budget. This demonstrates how valuable our technical expertise has been from the start, and our team has only grown stronger and more effective in providing support and leadership to developing countries.

My colleagues and the team’s work on gender-based violence statistics, and the Women into Leadership programme exemplify the critical role women play in statistics and data.”

Emily’s leadership as the head of the IDT has been instrumental in its success. She is responsible for ensuring that the ONS collaborates with developing countries to improve the usefulness, accuracy, and comparability of statistics. With her vision and expertise, Emily has helped form a team that builds capacity, leads the UK government’s statistical development efforts, and uses the ONS’s expertise to influence the global statistical system.

Before joining the ONS, Emily was a statistician at the then UK Department for International Development (DFID) for 15 years. During her time, Emily worked with DFID programs in Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. She supported statistical capacity building and the use of statistical data in DFID programs.


Rachel, Strategic Advisor to UNECA, African Centre for Statistics

“I am thrilled to start my new role, although I am still adjusting to the different work culture in Africa. Moving my family abroad for work has definitely had its challenges, but I am determined to make the most of this incredible opportunity.”

Rachel is the only female in-country strategic advisor for IDT and is based at the African Centre for Statistics (ACS), part of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Her work involves collaborating with National Statistical Offices (NSOs), ACS and the ONS to provide training and support to improve the capabilities of NSOs in Africa, in particular with regards to modernisation and transformation to use digital methodologies. Recently, she has conducted successful workshops with the National Institute of Statistics Rwanda, ACS and the US Census Bureau, focusing on Big Data and post-enumeration surveys.

Rachel is an expert in data linkage and played a significant role in the 2021 Census in England and Wales before joining IDT.


Sarah, Open Sustainable Development Goals Lead

“With Gender Equality being one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), I am dedicated to ensuring that women are better represented in the workshops I organise. It is my personal mission to measure and improve the attendance of women.”

Sarah is responsible for managing the Open SDG platform which more than 50 organizations worldwide use to report their SDG data. She also leads capacity building with other countries, focusing on delivering training to ODA-eligible countries. The main objective of SDG is to ensure that no one is left behind. To achieve this, data is reported on a subnational level to ensure that all parts of the countries are working towards the same goals centred on equality.

Sarah has conducted workshops in Kenya and represented the ONS at ‘The SDMX Global Conference’ in Bahrain. In Harare, Zimbabwe, she led workshops in collaboration with the United Nations Statistics Division and UNECA to deliver training on SDG data dissemination to seven different African countries.


Natalie, Communications Lead

“I’ve been working at the ONS for almost 5 years, and I’ve had fantastic opportunities to develop my skills and expertise. I’ve always been extremely passionate about promoting inclusivity, especially empowering women in the workplace. My work with the international team has given me a unique perspective on addressing the balance.”

Natalie’s role is to enhance communication capacity within our international partners and promote the work of IDT while ensuring the ‘first class’ reputation of the ONS is maintained globally.

She recently conducted workshops with the Kenya Bureau of Statistics and Ghana Statistical Service, which empowered colleagues, including women with the necessary knowledge, tools, and skills to enhance their communication and statistical dissemination abilities.

Natalie is a strong advocate for inclusion and diversity in her work and promotes accessible communication throughout. She teaches our international partners the importance of clear and understandable public communications for all audiences.


Grace, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Lead

“A key part of my role is working with others to identify areas where we have done well and where we can improve, that’s not always an easy thing to do. Despite the challenges, I remain committed to making a difference and helping the programme make informed decisions.”

Grace works to help the team understand the impact of their activities in our partnership and how it contributes to making better decisions in the statistical world. Grace has recently collaborated with the World Bank and visited the Jordan stats office to develop a monitoring and evaluation framework for their new national strategy for the statistical system. She has also travelled to Ethiopia to evaluate the effectiveness of our partnership with UNECA.

Grace ensures that all her monitoring, evaluation, and learning data is disaggregated by sex to show the split in participation. She identifies any imbalances and targets improvements to benefit women in statistics.


For more information on the International Development Team visit our Working internationally page.