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If we want our projects to provide opportunities to empower women, which means we need metrics to be able to track progress, what tool do we use? This led us to our starting point.
In 2012, we launched the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index, and this was a tool that was co-developed by USAID, IFPRI and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative.
It was originally designed as a monitoring and evaluation tool for Feed the Future to measure the inclusion of women in the agricultural sector.
This tool is a survey-based index, so it is embedded in population-based surveys, and interviews men and women in the same household.
So what exactly does the WEAI measure?
In the original WEAI, we have five equally-weighted domains: We have Production, Resources, Income, Leadership, and Time.
And these five domains are measured by a set of 10 indicators, which are weighted equally within each domain.
East Africa: Ethiopia, Kenya,, Rwanda, and Uganda two high-scoring countries (Rwanda and Uganda); two low-scoring countries (Ethiopia and Kenya) West Africa: Ghana, Liberia, and Senegal Lowest levels of achievement Southern Africa: Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia Medium-ranking countries
in all seven countries, improving access to and decision making over credit (light blue) would be important for both men and women.
Technologies and investments that reduce women’s workload (maroon) would be particularly beneficial in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, and Zambia
increasing women’s control over income (orange) in Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda. For example, agricultural programs to increase marketing of produce should ensure that women gain or retain control of income
Ethiopian government’s National Nutrition Program, which recognizes women’s lack of access to and control over household resources, time, knowledge, and social support networks as barriers to improving nutrition outcomes, prompting government efforts to design and implement projects to empower women to increase their engagement in and control over economic activities
UN - adopted a multisectoral and comprehensive approach to reduce gender inequalities related to increasing women’s access to resources, credit, and financial services; decision making within the household; and participation in the community in pastoralist communities (Feed the Future 2018).
How empowered are women in Agriculture?
How empowered are women in
Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Emily Myers, and Agnes Quisumbing
International Food Policy Research Institute
Empowerment in Agriculture
• Empowerment is the “expansion in people’s ability to make
strategic life choices in a context where this ability was
previously denied to them” (Kabeer, 1999, 427)
• Sustainable Development Goals – (SDG1) ending poverty,
(SDG2) hunger, (SDG3) good health and well-being for women
Include women in
Increase women’s well-
Strengthen ability of
women to make strategic
life choices and to put
those choices into
Reach Benefit Empower
Distinguishing Reach, Benefit, & Empower
Starting point: the Women’s
Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI)
• Developed by USAID, IFPRI & OPHI
• Launched in 2012
• Measures inclusion of women in the
• Survey-based index - interviews
men and women in the same
The Women’s Empowerment in
A direct measure of
empowerment in 5
relative to the
primary male in hh
WEAI is made up of two sub
All range from zero to one;
higher values = greater empowerment
For more information: weai.ifpri.info
For more information: weai.ifpri.info
5 domains in
6 indicators: A-
Empowerment by Region (10 countries)
Region/country Year 5DE GPI WEAI Ranking
Ethiopia 2013 0.68 0.87 0.70 Low
Kenya 2013 0.71 0.81 0.72 Low
Rwanda 2012–2013 0.90 0.96 0.91 High
Uganda 2012 0.85 0.92 0.86 High
Ghana 2012 0.70 0.81 0.71 Low
Liberia 2013 0.66 0.95 0.69 Low
Senegal 2012 0.68 0.77 0.69 Low
Malawi 2012 0.83 0.91 0.84 Medium
Mozambique 2013–2014 0.82 0.89 0.83 Medium
Zambia 2012 0.79 0.89 0.80 Medium
Source: Kansas State University, Department of Agricultural Economics (2014); Optimal Solutions Group (2013); Westat (2012a, 2012b, 2012c, 2013a,
Note: 5DE = five domains of empowerment; GPI = Gender Parity Index; WEAI = Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index.
Identifying Sources of Disempowerment
Kenya Rwanda Uganda Ghana Liberia Malawi Zambia Average
Can we measure progress? Ask Ethiopia
• Ethiopian women’s WEAI score
increased by 3%; 5DE score
increased from 0.68 to 0.71;
GPI increased 1%
• WEAI information used by:
• Ethiopian government’s National
• United Nation’s Joint Programme
on Accelerating Progress towards
the Economic Empowerment of
Rural Women in Ethiopia
5DE score GPI score WEAI score
WEAI, 5DE, and GPI scores for Women in Ethiopia
Source: Feed the Future 2018
• Diagnose areas of disempowerment to inform policy and
• Data need to be collected regularly with similar methods
• 50 x 2030 Initiative and efforts to develop a women’s
empowerment metric for national statistical systems (WEMNS)