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The Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index

  • Sabina Alkire, Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Amber Peterman, Agnes R. Quisumbing, Greg Seymour and Ana Vaz

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 decision-making 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.

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Paper provided by Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford in its series OPHI Working Papers with number ophiwp058.

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Date of creation: Feb 2013
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Handle: RePEc:qeh:ophiwp:ophiwp058
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Web page: http://ophi.qeh.ox.ac.uk/
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  2. Smith, Lisa C. & Ramakrishnan, Usha & Ndiaye, Aida & Haddad, Lawrence James & Martorell, Reynaldo, 2003. "The importance of women's status for child nutrition in developing countries:," Research reports 131, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Agnes Quisumbing & Neha Kumar, 2011. "Does social capital build women's assets? The long-term impacts of group-based and individual dissemination of agricultural technology in Bangladesh," Journal of Development Effectiveness, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(2), pages 220-242.
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  18. Marcel Fafchamps & Agnes R Quisumbing, 2000. "Control and Ownership of Assets Within Rural Ethiopian Households," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2000-27, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  19. Carmen Diana Deere & Gina E. Alvarado & Jennifer Twyman, 2012. "Gender Inequality in Asset Ownership in Latin America: Female Owners vs Household Heads," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 43(2), pages 505-530, 03.
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  23. Sabina Alkire, 2008. "Concepts and Measures of Agency," OPHI Working Papers ophiwp010, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  24. Buvinic, Mayra & Gupta, Geeta Rao, 1997. "Female-Headed Households and Female-Maintained Families: Are They Worth Targeting to Reduce Poverty in Developing Countries?," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(2), pages 259-80, January.
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