Clinton, Bloomberg: Data will help women's issues

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NEW YORK (AP) — Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg teamed up Monday to highlight the power of information in helping women worldwide and to promote a joint effort to gather more data on their health, workplace roles, childbirth and other facets of their lives.

Clinton, who presumably would be the favorite to become the Democrats' 2016 presidential nominee were she to run, has long championed the need for more information to help women and girls whose hardships may go overlooked or inadequately addressed because of a lack of data.

"If you don't measure, you can't manage," she said at a news conference held at the Manhattan headquarters of the billionaire ex-mayor's philanthropic foundation. "You can't understand what the problem is, if you don't have a good grasp of what the facts and figures are."

Clinton formed the initiative, called "Data 2x" in 2012, and has teamed up with Bloomberg Philanthropies and the United Nations Foundation to fill in the data gaps. She said it isn't enough for these problems to be thought of as human rights issues or moral problems.

"Good decisions in government, in business, in life are based on evidence, rather than ideology, or gut feelings or anecdotes," she said.

The initiative's goal is to "build a case strong enough to convince the skeptics, based on hard-data and clear-eyed analysis, that creating opportunities for women and girls across the globe directly supports everyone's security and prosperity," she said.

Bloomberg, who has vowed to give away most of his $33 billion fortune to charitable causes, touted recent work in Tanzania to reduce women's fatalities in childbirth as proof that gathering statistical information can lead to solutions and save lives. The former mayor said that when data revealed a severe doctor shortage in the east African nation, resources were used to train non-physicians to assist childbirth and, when needed, perform C-sections.

"We were drawn to maternal health by passion and conviction but we were also drawn to Tanzania by data," he said. "If you get the data, you get to target your resources and make a very big difference."

There was little talk of politics at the event, which included a panel hosted by Clinton's daughter, Chelsea Clinton, and the announcement of several new private and public entities joining the cause.

Clinton has remained silent on whether she will run for office and Bloomberg, who once suggested that she succeed him as mayor of New York, did not weigh in on the former first lady's political future. But the duo, who each recently became grandparents, did praise their close relationship.

Bloomberg's endorsement was highly coveted in 2012; he backed President Barack Obama in the campaign's final days.

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