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Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index for Feed the Future How should CARE work with it?
From Larissa Pelham (CAREUK) • What the WEIAI is: • A sub-index to measure the empowerment of women in their roles and engagement in agriculture sector as it changes in quantity/quality over time. • A sub- index of gender parity – measuring the % of women empowered compared with men (based on interviews with both men and women in the HH) • Why it is needed: • Single proxy measurements of women’s participation (eg control over HH resources, access to income, etc) are not sufficient to capture the complexity of issues around empowerment, a composite measurement is lacking.
How empowerment is measured • Empowerment is measured across 5 ‘domains’ Agricultural production; Control of resources; Control of income; Leadership; Time. These are measured by 10 indices • Each woman is given a score from 0-1 for each of the 10 indices. • A woman is ‘empowered’ if she demonstrates “adequate” achievements in 80% (ie 4 out of 5) of the domains • This can be flexible and could change over time or according to requirements
The indices • Agricultural production • Do women have input to production decisions? • Do women have autonomy over production decisions? • Control of resources • Do women have ownership of assets (land and other major assets)? • Do women have authority to buy/control/sell assets? • Do they have access to credit and decision-making? • Control of income • Sole or joint control over use of income • Leadership • Are women members of groups? • Are they comfortable speaking in public? • Time • Are they comfortable with their amount of leisure time? • How much time is spent at work?
Findings so far • Piloted in three countries: Bangladesh, Guatemala, Uganda, surveying up to 300 HH in each country. Not nationally representative surveys – so cannot compare findings cross-country. • Incidental findings include – Bangladesh: no correlation between education and women’s empowerment (although this was only measured for primary school level – so it may be more significant if compared with secondary education). • Empowerment is less among older and younger women – ie the 26-55 years are more empowered • Correlation between levels of hunger and disempowerment is not statistically significant in the Bangladesh and Guatemala cohorts, although it was in Uganda
Use • Gives insights into indicators that previously have not been measured • Unique – as it asks questions of both men and women • Monitoring: To help measure improvements in women’s empowerment over time • Gives sense of the gap in empowerment between women, and between men and women. • To identify appropriate interventions to better work with gender disparity and women’s empowerment • FTF plans to undertake survey every two years – so there will be time series data soon.
What the Index does not do? • No indicators on access to information, or to ag inputs, or to markets • How account for differences in country perpsectives on empowerment (interestingly in Bangladesh, what’s come out as most important is time status and cooperation within the community) • Needs responsive questions asking women about what differences they want to see for themselves. • Could eventually compare across communities, livelihood zones, etc – as long as this type of data is collected (which at the moment it doesn’t seem to be??? • How to give more policy influence to the index?
CARE and the WEIAI Opportunity 1 – Pathways to secure Livelihoods: Empowering Women in Agriculture • Pathways Goal: To increase poor women farmers’ productivity and empowerment in more equitable agriculture systems at scale • The measurement and learning system allows for: • The M&E system indicators will include: Contributions to Empowerment: % change in Women's Empowerment Scoreillustratively referring to women’s: agency (e.g. knowledge, skills, self-confidence, collective capacity, control over (re)productive decision making); relationships (influence on household decision making, control over income, mobility outside the household, domestic workload, normative attitudes of men/husbands/community); and structures (women's role as leaders and participants in the public sphere, existence and enforcement of traditional and governmental regulations that support gender equality). • Monitoring - A perceptions-based tool for women’s empowerment (contributing to the women’s empowerment score) • Learning themes, which will use mixed method, participatory inquiries focused on learning themes across six countries (modeled on CARE’s Strategic Impact Inquiry processes) ‘Empowerment’ is one of these themes, which will explore the relationship between women’s empowerment and productivity, equity and livelihood security. It will also test the efficacy of approaches and strategies in contributing to women’s empowerment in the context of this program
Previous discussions about Pathways Perceptions Based Index • The challenges with a perception-based index. In the SII this got somewhat out of control. It is hard to build a system around individual perceptions, through which you can compare and contrast • And whose perceptions will you measure? Women’s only, or other household members and what is changing for them (eg girls in the household)? Will you only measure perceptions, or behaviours too? • Is it possible to work with a system in which you are exploring localized ideas about empowerment, but also working with and engaging actors who are more focused on comparable data and more global measures of change? • And deeper dives are needed. For example, you might have some common definitions of domains eg ability to make decisions. But what might really matter is which decisions people are able to make, and this is likely to be more localized • The word ‘empowerment’ is very specific to English. It might be useful to explore another concept to get at what you want to understand, such as ‘justice’ or ‘fairness’
Some Questions • What are the pros and cons of CARE using the WEIAI in relevant programme monitoring and evaluation? (eg Pathways) • How could the WEIAI relate to what how we monitor, evaluate and learn in long-term programs intended to impact chronic food insecurity? • Do we have specific questions/ bodies of work we would value moving forward in relation to understanding WE and food security? Eg looking at how our programming analyses and/or addresses time poverty/ work burdens for women?