The Participatory Index of Women’s Empowerment: Development and an application in Tunisia

OPHI Research in Progress

In this paper we develop the Participatory Index of Women’s Empowerment, an innovative measurement tool that reflects its subjects’ own perceptions of empowerment. Participatory measurement is a response to the paradoxical potential for measurement of empowerment to disempower. A simple stated choice experiment allows participants to implicitly reveal the trade- offs that they make between different indicators of empowerment. This permits participatory determination of the relative weights for each indicator in a composite index, through estimation of a random utility model. We demonstrate the implementation of PIWE through a pilot application in the context of a quasi-experimental impact evaluation of an Oxfam project in Tunisia. Despite a relatively small sample size, we can reject the hypothesis that participants’ perceptions of empowerment are consistent with equal weights. We find that the project had a significant positive impact on participants’ empowerment and find suggestive evidence of impact on their perceptions of empowerment.

Citation: Quinn, N.N. and Lombardini, S. (2023). ‘The Participatory Index of Women’s Empowerment: Development and an application in Tunisia’, OPHI Research in Progress 67a, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford.

empowerment, participatory measurement, Participatory Index of Women’s Empowerment, PIWE, women’s empowerment, participatory methods, multidimensional measurement, discrete choice experiment
Arab States


Natalie Naïri Quinn and Simone Lombardini

Series Name
OPHI Research in Progress
Publication date
JEL Codes
B54, C43
Publication Number
RP 67a