The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index

The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index


Why women’s empowerment in agriculture?

Women play a critical and potentially transformative role in agricultural growth in developing countries, but they face persistent obstacles and economic constraints limiting further inclusion in agriculture.

What is the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI)?

The new Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) measures the empowerment, agency, and inclusion of women in the agriculture sector in an effort to identify ways to overcome those obstacles and constraints. The Index is a significant innovation in its field and aims to increase understanding of the connections between women’s empowerment, food security, and agricultural growth.

The WEAI is a composite measurement tool that indicates women’s control over critical parts of their lives in the household, community, and economy. It allows us to identify women who are disempowered and understand how to increase autonomy and decisionmaking in key domains. It is also a useful tool for tracking progress toward gender equality, which is one of the Millennium Development Goals.

Who created it?

OPHI collaborated with the United States Agency for International Development and the International Food Policy Research Institute to develop it.

What does it measure?

It measures the roles and extent of women’s engagement in the agriculture sector in five domains:

(1) decisions about agricultural production

(2) access to and decisionmaking power over productive resources

(3) control over use of income

(4) leadership in the community

(5) time use

It also measures women’s empowerment relative to men within their households.

How will it be used?

The WEAI was developed to track the change in women’s empowerment levels that occurs as a direct or indirect result of interventions under Feed the Future, the US government’s global hunger and food security initiative. Ultimately, the Index will be used for performance monitoring and impact evaluations of Feed the Future programs.

How has it been piloted to date?

Toward that end, in 2011, pilot surveys were conducted in regions of three countries: Bangladesh, Guatemala, and Uganda. The WEAI is also a useful tool for policymakers, development organizations, and academics seeking to inform efforts to increase women’s empowerment.

What was OPHI’s role?

The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative developed the WEAI from the survey data and adapted the Alkire Foster Method, which underpins the Index. Feed the Future, through support from USAID, defined the five domains, provided technical input on the development of the pilot survey, and provided overall policy guidance for the Index, which was commissioned to support the monitoring and evaluation of their programs. The International Food Policy Research Institute provided overall coordination for this project, designed and implemented the household pilot survey, and developed the individual case studies, working with in-country collaborators.

How can I find out more?

Read the full WEIA brochure

  Read the WEAI press release

  Read the WEAI case studies

  Watch the launch event live on 28 Feb, 1:15-2:30 (EST)

  Read about the Index and how the US Government will use it on the Feed the Future site

  Read about the Index on the IFPRI website