Why measure women's empowerment? What, broadly, has the Strategic Impact Inquiry on women's empowerment taught us to date?

Published: August 2003

This document presents measurement of womens empowermtns and the strategic impact inquiry on women's empowerment. Across the entire spectrum of development work there is growing momentum around women's empowerment and its link to the fight against poverty. CARE has spent 10 years investing steadily in that area, but what exactly does CARE do to empower women? Does it work? How do we know? And does it really hold the key to overcoming poverty? In January 2005, CARE began looking for answers to these questions through a series of investigations we called the Strategic Impact Inquiry, designed to examine what contributions CARE makes to women's empowerment and the advancement of gender equity.

Key Findings

  • CARE has made real and valuable contributions to women's struggles to overcome poverty.
  • Women have said that the skills and confidence they had gained from contact with CARE programs were allowing them to play a stronger and more active role in the household, to talk with their husbands at a more equal level, to participate in public meetings and to enter the public sphere more broadly.
  • All of the projects studied fall somewhere along a continuum of good to great gender work.
  • CARE helps communities tackle the deeply embedded structures that perpetuate poverty and injustice, even though it means the organization will encounter new tensions and risks.
  • Changing the systems that oppress women is crucial to overcoming poverty.

Populations Women

Complementary Outcomes Gender-based Violence, Political And Civic Participation, Women's Leadership, Women's Rights

Publishers CARE

Geographic Focus Africa