Evidence-based Measures of Empowerment for Research on Gender Equality

Photograph by Prashant Panjiar © Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


One aim of EMERGE is to identify, extract, and evaluate quantitative measures of gender equality and empowerment. By definition, gender equality is the state when a person’s rights, responsibilities, and or opportunities are not influenced by gender differences and gender empowerment is the process by which those not in a position of power or those with less power change their circumstances to enable greater autonomy and self-determination. Measures of gender equality and empowerment can assess the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, social norms, behaviors, or personal experiences of individuals or communities across any of the nine dimensions.

The dimensions and exemplar constructs or topics subsumed under each dimension are as follows: (1) Social (e.g., social cohesion and social support), (2) Psychological (e.g., self-efficacy and resilience), (3) Economic (e.g., economic decision making control), (4) Legal (e.g., property rights and inheritance), (5) Political (e.g., voting participation), (6) Health (e.g., bodily integrity), (7) Household and Intrafamilial Relations (e.g., gender-based violence), (8) Environment and Sustainability (e.g., water resources), and (9) Time-Poverty (e.g., time spent on domestic duties). For additional details see the Theoretical and Definitional Basis for Identification of Measures of Gender Equality and Empowerment Report under Resources.

To identify measures we relied on input from gender equality and empowerment experts and external compilation efforts including reviews of grey and published literature. Only quantitative measures captured directly from an individual or assessed at the household level were included on the site, for additional information see the What is Measurement and How Do We Quantitatively Measure Gender Equality and Empowerment Report under Resources. Each measure had item, response option, and scoring procedure details extracted for the site based on the primary citation (i.e., the citation first introducing the measure or the main measure validation paper determined by an EMERGE team member). The primary citation also helped approximate use through Google Scholar’s “Cited By” tool and was used to psychometrically score the measure (for more details see Scoring Methodology). Please note that all scores presented on our site serve neither as recommendation nor endorsement of a given measure by our team.

Every effort has been made to ensure that information on this website is accurate and inclusive. That said, as an emerging and discipline-diverse field, we recognize that we may not have captured every measure of gender equality and empowerment, or we may not have captured all evidence regarding measures we have reviewed. To inform us of new measures or to update us on the science of measures we have already scored please use the “Add a New Measure” and “Change Existing Measure” buttons located under Contact. All new measures should be quantitative and fit into one of two categories: (1) they are from a large national, multi-state, or multi-country survey or report or (2) they came from a peer-reviewed publication (impact factor >= 1) with measure psychometrics as a stated key objective and empirical assessments of both reliability and validity (construct and or criterion).