The Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index

76 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2013

See all articles by Sabina Alkire

Sabina Alkire

Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative

Ruth S. Meinzen-Dick

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Amber Peterman

UNICEF - Innocenti Research Centre

Agnes R. Quisumbing

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Greg Seymour

American University

Ana Vaz

University of Oxford

Date Written: December 2, 2012

Abstract

The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) is a new survey-based index designed to measure the empowerment, agency, and inclusion of women in the agricultural sector. The WEAI was initially developed as a tool to reflect women’s empowerment that may result from the United States government’s Feed the Future Initiative, which commissioned the development of the WEAI. The WEAI can also be used more generally to assess the state of empowerment and gender parity in agriculture, to identify key areas in which empowerment needs to be strengthened, and to track progress over time. The WEAI is an aggregate index, reported at the country or regional level, based on individual-level data collected by interviewing men and women within the same households. The WEAI comprises two subindexes. The first assesses the degree to which women are empowered in five domains of empowerment (5DE) in agriculture. It reflects the percentage of women who are empowered and, among those who are not, the percentage of domains in which women enjoy adequate achievements. These domains are (1) decisions about agricultural production, (2) access to and decisionmaking power about productive resources, (3) control of use of income, (4) leadership in the community, and (5) time allocation. The second subindex (the Gender Parity Index [GPI]) measures gender parity. The GPI reflects the percentage of women who are empowered or whose achievements are at least as high as the men in their households. For those households that have not achieved gender parity, the GPI shows the empowerment gap that needs to be closed for women to reach the same level of empowerment as men. This technical paper documents the development of the WEAI and presents pilot data from Bangladesh, Guatemala, and Uganda, so that researchers and practitioners seeking to use the index in their own work would understand how the survey questionnaires were developed and piloted, how the qualitative case studies were undertaken, how the index was constructed, how various indicators were validated, and how it can be used in other settings.

Keywords: agricultural development, multidimensional measurement, gender equality, women’s empowerment

Suggested Citation

Alkire, Sabina and Meinzen-Dick, Ruth S. and Peterman, Amber and Quisumbing, Agnes R. and Seymour, Greg and Vaz, Ana, The Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index (December 2, 2012). IFPRI Discussion Paper No. 01240. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2197300 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2197300

Sabina Alkire (Contact Author)

Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative ( email )

Queen Elizabeth House
3 Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 3TB
United Kingdom

Ruth S. Meinzen-Dick

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Amber Peterman

UNICEF - Innocenti Research Centre ( email )

Piazza SS.Annuziata, 12
Florence, I-50122
Italy

Agnes R. Quisumbing

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Greg Seymour

American University ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

Ana Vaz

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

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