A Practical Guide to Measuring Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment in Impact Evaluations – JPAL (2018)

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2018, JPAL – 52 pages

This practical guide can help provide researchers and practitioners with the tools to select or develop their own indicators of empowerment that are right for their impact evaluations. It emphasises the importance of conducting in-depth formative research to understand gender dynamics in the specific context before starting an evaluation, developing locally tailored indicators to complement internationally standardised ones, and reducing the potential for reporting bias in instruments and data collection plans. Instead of providing a single set of ready-to-go survey instruments, a process for developing indicators appropriate to each study is outlined along with extensive examples. Additionally, the guide highlights key challenges for measuring empowerment:

  • measuring people’s ability to make important life choices is challenging because we rarely observe decision-making directly.
  • empowerment is a process.
  • many aspects of empowerment are susceptible to reporting bias.
  • empowerment means different things in different contexts.
  • prioritizing outcome measures is difficult.
  • measuring women’s preferences is challenging in contexts where women have internalised society’s views.
  • disempowerment can heighten data collection challenges.