Measuring women’s empowerment in agriculture – a new tool

Photo: IRIN

A new tool for measuring women’s empowerment in agriculture should have good applications in the aquaculture sector also. The index was developed through a partnership between the US Agency for International Development (USAID), IFPRI and Oxford University’s Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI). Using 5 criteria, it measures the empowerment of women in agriculture and in their own households.  The criteria cover:

– how engaged women were in decision-making about agricultural production

– their access to resources and how involved they were in resource-related decision-making

– the extent to which they controlled how income was used

– whether they were able to have a leadership role in the community; and

– how they used their time.
The new measuring tool was tested by cases in Uganda, Bangladesh and Gualemala.

The case studies (2 for each of the countries) can all be downloaded at:


Oxford University, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative

According to the IFPRI press release:

“The pilot results show some surprising new findings:

  • In the sample from the Western Highlands of Guatemala, wealth is a poor indicator of empowerment—three-quarters of women in the wealthiest two-thirds of the population are not yet empowered.
  • In the southern Bangladesh sample, more than half of women are less empowered than the men with whom they share their house, yet they are usually confident speaking in public.
  • In the sample from rural parts of Uganda, lack of control over resources and time burdens contribute most to the disempowerment of women.”