IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Measuring Women Empowerment: Dissecting the Methodological Discourse


  • Vijayamohanan, Pillai N.
  • Asalatha, B. P.


As we move from the concept of empowerment to its measurement, it is natural that the complexity in the concept passes into its empirical expression in multiples. The problem is compounded as the concept is a multidimensional one. Several different efforts have been made in recent years to develop comprehensive frameworks delineating the various dimensions of women empowerment. The two types of indicators used almost universally in the empirical literature to operationalize empowerment at the individual or household level are those measuring domestic decision-making, and those measuring either access to, or control over resources. Often, these two aspects merge since indicators on domestic decision-making tend to focus heavily on financial and resource allocation matters. The emphasis on such measures in the empirical literature corresponds well with the emphasis on resources and agency in the conceptual literature, as well as with the frequent equation of empowerment with choice, control, and power. Certainly, there is an intuitive appeal to decision-making and control as signifying important aspects of agency. The present paper seeks to dissect this methodological discourse by listing the essential elements of the empowerment frameworks developed in selected studies and culling out the indicators frequently used to operationalize empowerment at the individual or household level in the empirical studies.

Suggested Citation

  • Vijayamohanan, Pillai N. & Asalatha, B. P., 2012. "Measuring Women Empowerment: Dissecting the Methodological Discourse," MPRA Paper 44077, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:44077

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Women empowerment; Measurement; Multidimensional; Agency;

    JEL classification:

    • B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General
    • B54 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Feminist Economics

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:44077. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joachim Winter). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.