Survey-based Women’s Empowerment (SWPER) Index - Global

Survey-based Women’s Empowerment (SWPER) Index - Global is a 14-item measure that has been adapted from the original version that had been tested in Africa. This index is intended to be utilized to measure women's empowerment across all low- and middle-income countries.


Geographies Tested: Afghanistan,Albania,Angola,Armenia,Azerbaijan,Bangladesh,Benin,Bolivia,Burkina Faso,Burundi,Cambodia,Cameroon,Chad,Comoros,Democratic Republic of the Congo,Cote d'Ivoire,Dominican Republic,Egypt,Ethiopia,Gabon,Ghana,Guatemala,Guinea,Guyana,Haiti,Honduras,India,Indonesia,Kenya,Kyrgyzstan,Lesotho,Liberia,Madagascar,Malawi,Maldives,Mali,Moldova,Morocco,Mozambique,Myanmar (Burma),Namibia,Nepal,Nicaragua,Niger,Nigeria,Pakistan,Peru,Philippines,Rwanda,Sao Tome and Principe,Senegal,Sierra Leone,Tajikistan,Tanzania,The Gambia,Uganda,Ukraine,Zambia,Zimbabwe

Populations Included: Female

Age Range:


Attitude to violence
1. Beating justified if wife goes out without telling husband.
2. Beating justified if wife neglects the children.
3. Beating justified if wife argues with husband.
4. Beating justified if wife refuses to have sex with husband.
5. Beating justified if wife burns the food.

Response Options:
Yes - -1
Don't know - 0
No - 1

Social independence
6. Frequency of reading newspaper or magazine

Response Options:
Not at all - 0
Less than once a week - 1
At least once a week - 2

7. Woman education in completed years of schooling
8. Age of woman at first birth
9. Age at first cohabitation
10. Age difference: woman's minus husband's age
11. Education difference: woman's minus husband's years of schooling

Response Options:

12. Who usually decides on respondent's health care.
13. Who usually decides on large household purchases.
14. Who usually decides on visits to family or relatives.

Response Options:
Husband or other alone - -1
Joint decision or respondent alone - 1

Scoring Procedures

Index scores are created by subscale. Full details on the calculation of the index and suggested cutpoints for empowerment scores are described in the supplemental information of the primary citation.

Original Citation

Ewerling, F., Raj, A., Victora, C. G., Hellwig, F., Coll, C. V., & Barros, A. J. (2020). SWPER Global: A survey-based women's empowerment index expanded from Africa to all low- and middle-income countries. Journal of Global Health, 10(2), 020343.

Psychometric Score

Ease of Use Score

Scoring breakdown

Formative Research

Qualitative Research

Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

Field Expert Input

Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








Criterion (gold-standard)



Ease of Use


Scoring Clarity


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