Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI)

The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) includes 20 items regarding individuals’ experiences of agency and empowerment in the agricultural sector. The index is based on two indices. The first index measures empowerment in five dimensions: Decisions about Agricultural Production, Access to and Decision Making Power about Productive Resources, Control of Use of Income, Leadership in the Community, and Time Allocation. The second index, the Gender Parity Index (GPI), reflects how often women’s achievements match or exceed that of men in their households. WEAI training materials, pilot questionnaires, and the most updated WEAI module are available at https://www.ifpri.org/publication/womens-empowerment-agriculture-index. For ease of demonstration, the 10 indicators used to calculate the WEAI score have been extracted from the questionnaire administered in Uganda.

High Psychometric Score Multi-Country

ITEMS:

Decisions about Agricultural Production

Indicator: Input in productive decisions

1. How much input did you have in making decisions about [activity]?

Activities:

  • Food crop farming: crops that are grown primarily for household food consumption
  • Cash crop farming: crops that are grown primarily for sale in the market
  • Livestock farming
  • Non-farm economic activities: Small business, self-employment, buy-and-sell
  • Wage and salary employment: in-kind or monetary work-both agriculture and other wage work
  • Fishing or fishpond culture

Response Options:
No input - 1
Input into very few decisions - 2
Input into some decisions - 3
Input into most decisions - 4
Input into all decisions - 5
No decision made - 6

2. To what extent do you feel you can make your own personal decisions regarding these aspects of household life [domains] if you want(ed) to?

Domains:

  • Agriculture production
  • Which inputs to buy
  • Which types of crops to grow for agricultural production
  • When to take or who should take crops to market
  • Livestock raising

Response Options:
Not at all - 1
Small extent - 2
Medium extent - 3
To a high extent - 4

Adequacy note: The two items are combined in the determination of adequacy for this indicator. The respondent is considered adequate on input in productive decisions if there are at least two types of decisions in which he or she has some input in the decisions, makes the decision, or feel he or she could make it to a medium extent if he or she wanted to.

Indicator: Autonomy in productive decisions

3. My actions in [domain] are partly because I will get in trouble with someone if I act different.
4. Regarding [domain] I do what I do so others don’t think poorly of me.
5. Regarding [domain] I do what I do because I personally think it is the right thing to do.

Note: Domains are found under “Indicator: Input in productive decisions” question 2.

Response Options:
Never true - 1
Not very true - 2
Somewhat true - 3
Always true - 4
Decision not made - 98

Adequacy note: The respondent is considered to have adequate autonomy in production if his or her RAI (Relative Autonomy Index) value is greater than 1 in at least one of the five domains assessed. Domain specific RAI values vary between -9 and 9 and are calculated by weighting the response to item 1 by “-2”, the response to item 2 by “-1”, the response to item 3 by “3”, and then summing weighted values.

Access to and Decision Making Power about Productive Resources

Indicator: Ownership of Assets

6. Who would you say can use the [item] most of the time?

Items:

  • Agricultural land (pieces/plots)
  • Large livestock (oxen, cattle)
  • Small livestock (goats, pigs, sheep)
  • Chickens, ducks, turkeys, pigeons
  • Fish pond/equipment
  • Farm equipment (non-mechanized)
  • Farm equipment (mechanized)
  • Nonfarm business equipment
  • House (and other structures)
  • Large durables
  • Small durables
  • Cell phone
  • Nonagricultural land (any)
  • Means of transportation

Response Options:

Self - 1
Partner/spouse - 2
Self and partner/spouse jointly - 3
Other household member - 4
Self and other household member(s)- 5
Partner/spouse and other household member(s)- 6
Someone (or group of people) outside the household) - 7
Self and other outside people - 8
Partner/spouse and other outside people - 9
Self, partner/spouse and other outside people - 10

Adequacy note: A person is considered adequate in this area if he or she reports having sole or joint ownership of at least one asset, as long as it is not only chickens, ducks, turkeys, pigeons, non-mechanized farm equipment, or small consumer durables.

Indicator: Purchase, sale, or transfer of assets

7. Who would you say can decide whether to sell [item] most of the time?
8. Who would you say can decide whether to give away [item] most of the time?
9. Who would you say can decide to mortgage or rent out [item] most of the time?
10. Who contributes most to decisions regarding a new purchase of [item]?

Note: Items are found under “Indicator: Ownership of assets” question 1.

Response Options:
Self - 1
Partner/spouse - 2
Self and partner/spouse jointly - 3
Other household member - 4
Self and other household member(s) - 5
Partner/spouse and other household member(s) - 6
Someone (or group of people) outside the household) - 7
Self and other outside people - 8
Partner/spouse and other outside people - 9
Self, partner/spouse and other outside people – 10

Adequacy note: This indicator classifies the individual as adequate if he or she has at least one type of right (sell, give away, rent out, or buy) over at least one type of agricultural asset.

Indicator: Access to and decisions about credit

11. Who made the decision to borrow from [source]?
12. Who made the decision about what to do with the money/item borrowed from [source]?

Sources:

  • Non-governmental organization (NGO)
  • Informal lender
  • Formal lender (bank/financial institution)
  • Friends or relatives
  • Group based micro-finance or lending including VSLAs/SACCOs/merry-go-rounds

Response Options:
Self - 1
Partner/spouse - 2
Self and partner/spouse jointly - 3
Other household member - 4
Self and other household member(s) - 5
Partner/spouse and other household member(s) - 6
Someone (or group of people) outside the household) - 7
Self and other outside people - 8
Partner/spouse and other outside people - 9
Self, partner/spouse and other outside people – 10

Adequacy note: The respondent is classified as adequate on credit if he or she makes at least one decision (alone or jointly) relative to credit from at least one source of credit. Individuals who live in households that do not use any source of credit are considered inadequate on access to credit, and hence, are assigned the value 0 for this indicator.

Control and Use of Income

Indicator: Control over and use of income

13. How much input did you have in decisions on the use of income generated from [activity]?

Response Options:
No input - 1
Input into very few decisions - 2
Input into some decisions - 3
Input into most decisions - 4
Input into all decisions - 5
No decision made - 6

14. To what extent do you feel you can make your own personal decisions regarding these [aspects] of household life if you want(ed) to?

Aspects:

  • Your own (singular) wage or salary employment
  • Minor household expenditures (such as food for daily consumption or other household needs)

Response Options:
Not at all - 1
Small extent - 2
Medium extent - 3
To a high extent - 4

Adequacy note: The two sub-indicators (items) are combined and the respondent is considered adequate on control over use of income if he or she reports having at least some input in decisions related to one activity or feels that he or she could participate in the decision-making at least to a medium extent. However, adequacy for decision making for minor household expenditures alone is not sufficient to achieve adequacy for the indicator.

Leadership in the Community

Indicator: Group member

15. Are you an active member of [any groups in your community]?

Groups:

  • Agricultural/livestock/fisheries producer’s group (including marketing groups)
  • Water users’ group
  • Forest users’ group
  • Credit or microfinance group (including SACCOs/merry-go-rounds/VSLAs)
  • Mutual help or insurance group (including burial societies)
  • Trade or business association
  • Civic groups (improving community) or charitable group (helping others)
  • Local government
  • Religious group
  • Other women’s group (only if it does not fit into one of the other categories)
  • Other (specify)

Response Options:
Yes - 1
No - 2

Adequacy note: The respondent is considered adequate if he or she is a member of at least one of the above groups.

Indicator: Speaking in public

16. Do you feel comfortable speaking up in public to help decide on infrastructure (like small wells, roads, water supplies) to be built in your community?
17. Do you feel comfortable speaking up in public to ensure proper payment of wages or public works or other similar programs?
18. Do you feel comfortable speaking up in public to protest the misbehavior of authorities or elected officials?

Response Options:
Not at all comfortable - 1
Yes, but with a great deal of difficulty - 2
Yes, but with a little difficulty - 3
Yes, fairly comfortable - 4
Yes, very comfortable - 5

Adequacy note: The respondent is considered adequate in speaking in public if his or her comfort level with speaking is “yes, but with a great deal of difficulty” or higher for at least one of the three reasons listed above.

Time Allocation

Indicator: Workload

19. In the last complete 24 hours (starting yesterday morning at 4 am, finishing 3 am of the current day) [how many hours did you spend working]?

Response Options:
Three digit numeric value (in hours)

Adequacy note: The individual is defined as adequate on workload if the number of hours he or she worked per day was less than the time poverty line of 10.5 hours in the previous 24 hours.

Indicator: Leisure

20. How satisfied are you with your available time for leisure activities like visiting neighbors, watching TV, listening to the radio, seeing movies or doing sports?

Response Options:
Please give your opinion on a scale of 1 to 10. A value of “1” means you are not satisfied whereas “10” means you are very satisfied. If you are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied this can be indicated by choosing the middle value (5) on the scale.

Adequacy note: The indicator “leisure time” considers the respondent adequate if he or she ranks his or her level of satisfaction equal to or higher than 5, which means he or she is indifferent to or satisfied with the time available for leisure.

CATEGORIES:


GEOGRAPHIES TESTED:

Bangladesh
Guatemala
Uganda

POPULATIONS INCLUDED:
Female
Male

AGE RANGE:
Adults

DOWNLOAD MEASURE

Scoring Procedures:

Five Domains of Empowerment Index (5DE): Respondents receive a binary score in each of the 10 indicators, reflecting whether she is classified as “adequate” or “inadequate” for that indicator (see cut-offs for each indicator’s determination of adequacy above). Indicators are weighted (see publication) for which adequacy is met and then summed to calculate an empowerment score that ranges from 0 to 100 percent. The individual is classified as empowered if she is adequate in four out of five domains, or if her weighted indicators reflect 80% or more total adequacy.

Gender Parity Index (GPI): The GPI compares 5DE profiles between the primary adult male and female in each applicable household. The primary adult male and female in the household may or may not be husband and wife. As not all households have both a primary male and female, the aggregate WEAI (score details below) uses the mean GPI for dual-adult households in such instances. For the GPI inadequacy scores less than or equal to the cut-off of 20 percent are given a value of 20 percent. To calculate GPI one must first compute the GPI across households (in a population) and the GPI within households.

Aggregated WEAI score: The 5DE index has a weight of 90 percent and the GPI has a weight of 10 percent on the final WEAI score. The total score is the weighted sum of the national or regional 5DE and GPI scores.

PRIMARY CITATION:

Alkire, S., Meinzen-Dick, R., Peterman, A., Quisumbing, A., Seymour, G., & Vaz, A. (2013). The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (OPHI Working Paper No. 58). Retrieved from: http://www.ophi.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/ophi-wp-58.pdf

Pyschometric Score:

FORMATIVE RESEARCH

 Qualitative Research

 Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

 Field Expert Input

 Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing

RELIABILITY

 Internal

 Test-retest

 Interrater

VALIDITY

 Content

 Face

 Criterion (gold-standard)

 Construct

Psychometric Scoring

HIGH
Total Score: 6.50/8 Points (HIGH) 

Citation Frequency

No

KEY

 FULL POINTS
 PARTIAL POINTS
 NOT ASSESSED
 NOT APPLICABLE

For more details, see Scoring Methodology

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