‘The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index’ published in World Development

OPHI Working Paper 58, ‘The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index’, has been published online in World Development journal.

The paper describes the WEAI, a new survey-based index designed to measure the empowerment, agency, and inclusion of women in the agricultural sector. It was written by OPHI’s Sabina Alkire and Ana Vaz together with Ruth Meinzen-Dick and Agnes R. Quisumbing of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Amber Peterman of the University of North Carolina, and Greg Seymour of the American University in Washington D.C.

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.

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.

The paper will be published in World Development Vol. 52, December 2013, pages 71-91, and can be read in the journal online here. You can read the working paper here, and find out more about the WEAI on our policy pages here.