Women’s Empowerment in
Agriculture Index for Feed the
How should CARE work with it?
From Larissa Pelham (CAREUK)
• What the WEIAI is:
• A sub-index to measure the empowerment of women in
their roles and engagement in agriculture sector as it
changes in quantity/quality over time.
• A sub- index of gender parity – measuring the % of women
empowered compared with men (based on interviews with
both men and women in the HH)
• Why it is needed:
• Single proxy measurements of women’s participation (eg
control over HH resources, access to income, etc) are not
sufficient to capture the complexity of issues around
empowerment, a composite measurement is lacking.
How empowerment is measured
• Empowerment is measured across 5 ‘domains’
Agricultural production; Control of resources; Control of
income; Leadership; Time. These are measured by 10
• Each woman is given a score from 0-1 for each of the 10
• A woman is ‘empowered’ if she demonstrates
“adequate” achievements in 80% (ie 4 out of 5) of the
• This can be flexible and could change over time or
according to requirements
The indices
• Agricultural production
• Do women have input to production decisions?
• Do women have autonomy over production decisions?
• Control of resources
• Do women have ownership of assets (land and other major assets)?
• Do women have authority to buy/control/sell assets?
• Do they have access to credit and decision-making?
• Control of income
• Sole or joint control over use of income
• Leadership
• Are women members of groups?
• Are they comfortable speaking in public?
• Time
• Are they comfortable with their amount of leisure time?
• How much time is spent at work?
Findings so far
• Piloted in three countries: Bangladesh, Guatemala, Uganda,
surveying up to 300 HH in each country. Not nationally
representative surveys – so cannot compare findings crosscountry.
• Incidental findings include – Bangladesh: no correlation
between education and women’s empowerment (although
this was only measured for primary school level – so it may
be more significant if compared with secondary education).
• Empowerment is less among older and younger women – ie
the 26-55 years are more empowered
• Correlation between levels of hunger and disempowerment
is not statistically significant in the Bangladesh and
Guatemala cohorts, although it was in Uganda
• Gives insights into indicators that previously have not
been measured
• Unique – as it asks questions of both men and women
• Monitoring: To help measure improvements in
women’s empowerment over time
• Gives sense of the gap in empowerment between
women, and between men and women.
• To identify appropriate interventions to better work
with gender disparity and women’s empowerment
• FTF plans to undertake survey every two years – so
there will be time series data soon.
What the Index does not do?
• No indicators on access to information, or to ag inputs, or to
• How account for differences in country perpsectives on
empowerment (interestingly in Bangladesh, what’s come out
as most important is time status and cooperation within the
• Needs responsive questions asking women about what
differences they want to see for themselves.
• Could eventually compare across communities, livelihood
zones, etc – as long as this type of data is collected (which at
the moment it doesn’t seem to be???
• How to give more policy influence to the index?
CARE and the WEIAI
Opportunity 1 – Pathways to secure Livelihoods: Empowering Women in Agriculture
• Pathways Goal: To increase poor women farmers’ productivity and empowerment in more
equitable agriculture systems at scale
The measurement and learning system allows for:
The M&E system indicators will include: Contributions to Empowerment: % change in Women's
Empowerment Score illustratively referring to women’s: agency (e.g. knowledge, skills, self-confidence,
collective capacity, control over (re)productive decision making); relationships (influence on household
decision making, control over income, mobility outside the household, domestic workload, normative
attitudes of men/husbands/community); and structures (women's role as leaders and participants in the
public sphere, existence and enforcement of traditional and governmental regulations that support gender
Monitoring - A perceptions-based tool for women’s empowerment (contributing to the women’s
empowerment score)
Learning themes, which will use mixed method, participatory inquiries focused on learning themes across
six countries (modeled on CARE’s Strategic Impact Inquiry processes) ‘Empowerment’ is one of these
themes, which will explore the relationship between women’s empowerment and productivity, equity and
livelihood security. It will also test the efficacy of approaches and strategies in contributing to women’s
empowerment in the context of this program
Previous discussions about Pathways
Perceptions Based Index
• The challenges with a perception-based index. In the SII this got somewhat
out of control. It is hard to build a system around individual perceptions,
through which you can compare and contrast
• And whose perceptions will you measure? Women’s only, or other
household members and what is changing for them (eg girls in the
household)? Will you only measure perceptions, or behaviours too?
• Is it possible to work with a system in which you are exploring localized
ideas about empowerment, but also working with and engaging actors
who are more focused on comparable data and more global measures of
• And deeper dives are needed. For example, you might have some
common definitions of domains eg ability to make decisions. But what
might really matter is which decisions people are able to make, and this is
likely to be more localized
• The word ‘empowerment’ is very specific to English. It might be useful to
explore another concept to get at what you want to understand, such as
‘justice’ or ‘fairness’
Some Questions
• What are the pros and cons of CARE using the WEIAI in
relevant programme monitoring and evaluation? (eg
• How could the WEIAI relate to what how we monitor,
evaluate and learn in long-term programs intended to
impact chronic food insecurity?
• Do we have specific questions/ bodies of work we
would value moving forward in relation to
understanding WE and food security? Eg looking at
how our programming analyses and/or addresses time
poverty/ work burdens for women?

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