Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index

Published: December 2011

This document presents women's empowerment in agriculture index. 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. The 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. 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 decision making power over productive resources, (3) control over use of income, (4) leadership in the community, and (5) time use. It also measures women's empowerment relative to men within their households.

Key Findings

  • The Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index is an innovative new tool composed of two sub-indexes: one measures the five domains of empowerment for women, and the other measures gender parity in empowerment within the household. It is an aggregate index reported at the country or regional level that is based on individual-level data on men and women within the same households
  • Five domains of empowerment (5DE): This sub-index assesses whether women are empowered across the five domains examined in the WEAI.
  • Gender Parity Index (GPI): This sub-index reflects the percentage of women who are as empowered as the men in their households.
  • Based on both sub-indexes, the WEAI is thus an aggregate index that shows the degree to which women are empowered in their households and communities and the degree of inequality between women and men within the household.
  • Pilot information is available for Southwestern Bangladesh, Western Highlands Guatemala, and Uganda and the pilot WEAI questionnaires included alternative phrasing in order to ensure the highest level of validity, and only questions used in the final Index will be included in the rollout of the WEAI questionnaires for Feed the Future monitoring in 19 focus countries. These questions will be adapted to specific country settings since Feed the Future supports countrydriven approaches to advance global food security, improve nutrition, and reduce poverty.

Populations Rural, Women

Complementary Outcomes Women's Leadership

Industries Agriculture/Food Processing

Publishers Feed the Future, IFPRI, The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Geographic Focus Africa (Eastern) / Uganda, Asia (Southern) / Bangladesh, Global, North America (Central America) / Guatemala