Evidence-based Measures of Empowerment for Research on Gender Equality


To identify the most appropriate measures for your survey, we recommend that you consider three core factors:  measure specifics, population demographics, and research constraints. Below we highlight some of the aspects under each factor to help you select the “best” measure.

Measure Specifics (or “specs”) broadly deal with the nature, availability, and rigor of measures used to quantify a given construct and what the measure represents and how useful of a tool it is purported to be according to the literature and study needs.

Consider the following measure “specs”:

  • What is the construct (concept or phenomena) trying to be measured?
    • Note: You may refer to our Measurement Framework to identify and operationalize constructs.
  • How is it best measured (e.g. investigator observation, self-report, parent report)?
  • Do available measures exist?
  • If measures exist: What is the level of measurement (i.e., individual, neighborhood, state, and nation)?
    • Note: Index measures may be more useful to understand gender equality and empowerment (GE/E) issues at a higher level, such as the state or country level, whereas scales can be more useful to understand GE/E as experienced at the individual level.
  • If measures exist: How do these measures compare in terms of scientific (psychometric) quality and use (citation frequency) in the literature?
    • Note: Single-item indicators tend to be less psychometric rigorous than multi-item measures and newly published measures need time to become widely “used” in the field.

Population Demographics deal with attributes of the population of interest/target population to whom the measure will be administered.

Consider the following attributes of your target population (as well as the attributes of the population to which the measure has been previously applied):

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Literacy
  • Cultural norms

Research Constraints deal with aspects such as time, funding, and situational or personnel details that one considers when thinking about how the selected measure will be administered.

Practical constraints all researchers should keep in mind:

  • Time for administration
  • Financial feasibility
  • Logistical aspects (e.g. place of interview)

Additional information on determining the ideal measure for use can be found in our EMERGE Reports: “What is Measurement and How Do We Quantitatively Measure Gender Equality and Empowerment?” and “How to Create Scientifically Valid Social and Behavioral Measures on Gender Equality and Empowerment.”

You have successfully registered

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

EMERGE will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.