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Empowerment Score

Empowerment Score includes 43 items regarding the measurement of people's empowerment across elements of life including decision-making, value of those choices, and social norms around making choices. The items measure these elements across domains of household, community, market and state.

Categories

Geographies Tested: India

Populations Included: Female, Male

Age Range: Adults

Items:

Control over money

Choice
1. When decisions are made regarding major household purchases, who is normally taking the decisions?

Response Options:
You - 1
You and someone else jointly (for example your spouse) - 2
Spouse - 3
Other - 4
Don’t knownot respondingNot applicable - 99

Value
2. Would you like to have more autonomy on decisions taken in your household regarding major household purchases?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
No - 2
No response - 99

Norms
3. Do you think that, generally speaking, women in your community are involved in decisions with respect to major household purchases?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
Mostly yes - 2
Mostly no - 3
No - 4
No response - 99

Decision-making power

Choice
4. When decisions are made regarding your children’s education, who is normally taking the decisions?

Response Options:
You - 1
You and someone else jointly (for example your spouse) - 2
Spouse - 3
Other - 4
Don’t knownot respondingNot applicable - 99

Value
5. Would you like to have more autonomy on decisions taken in your household regarding your children’s education?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
No - 2
No response - 99

Norms
6. Do you think that, generally speaking, women in your community are involved in decisions with respect to their children’s education?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
Mostly yes - 2
Mostly no - 3
No - 4
No response - 99

Control over body

Choice
7. If you have a serious but non-threatening health issue such as severe stomach-ache or high fever, who takes decisions on where to go to get treatment and how to for you to recover?

Response Options:
You - 1
You and someone else jointly (for example your spouse) - 2
Spouse - 3
Other - 4
Don’t knownot respondingNot applicable - 99

Value
8. Would you like to have more autonomy on decisions taken in your household regarding how to take care of your health?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
No - 2
No response - 99

Norms
9. Do you think that, generally speaking, women in your community have autonomy to decide how to take care of their health?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
Mostly yes - 2
Mostly no - 3
No - 4
No response - 99

Movingpresence in the public domain

Choice
10. Did you visit the part of the village where upper caste andor OBCs live unaccompanied by any male member of your family since last Holi? (Holi had happened about one year before)

Response Options:
Yes - 1
No - 2
No response - 99

Value
11. Would you have liked to go to the part of the village where upper caste andor OBCs live on your own?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
No - 2
No response - 99

Norms
12. Do you think that, generally speaking, women in your community visit the part of the village where upper caste andor OBCs live on their own?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
Mostly yes - 2
Mostly no - 3
No - 4
No response - 99

Freedom to do things

Choice
13. Have you, since last Holi, refused to give way to an upper caste person?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
No - 2
No response - 99

Value
14. How important do you think it is that people like you were free to refuse to give way to an upper caste person?

Response Options:
Not important at all - 1
Not very important - 2
Important - 3
Very important - 4
No response - 99

Norms
15. Do you think that, generally speaking, it is normal for people in your community to refuse to give way to an upper caste person?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
No - 2
No responsenot applicable - 99

Participation in community life

For this indicator, we have two alternative questions, aiming at capturing the same type of choice. As pointed out in the paper, our tool relies on having complete answers to all the questions. Obviously, if someone had not heard of any protest, she could not choose to attend or not (regardless of their preferences).

Preliminary Question
16. Have you heard of any protestcollective actiondharna during the last few years happening nearby?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
No - 2
No responsenot applicable - 99

If yes: proceed to Choice 1. If no, proceed to Choice 2.

Choice 1
17. Did you, over the last few years, participate in a protestdharnacollectiveaction?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
No - 2
No responsenot applicable - 99

Value 1
18. I am going to read you some statements and I would like you to give me if you agree with those statements or not. You can answer that you strongly disagree; that you disagree; that you agree; and that you strongly agree. Among the protestsdharnas that I heard of, no one interested me

Response Options:
Strongly disagree - 1
Disagree - 2
Agree - 3
Strongly agree - 4
No response - 99

Norms 1
19. Do you think that, generally speaking, women in your community go to protestsdharnas?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
No - 2
No responsenot applicable - 99

To be asked to those who responded ‘No’ to the preliminary question.

Choice 2
20. Have you talked about matters concerning your village or your community with other people during the last few years?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
No - 2
No responsenot applicable - 99

Value 2
21. How important do you think is for people like yourself to discuss matters concerning your village or your community?

Response Options:
Not important at all - 1
Not very important - 2
Important - 3
Very important - 4
No response - 99

Norms 2
22. Do you think that, generally speaking, women in your community discuss matters concerning your village or your community?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
No - 2
No responsenot applicable - 99

Labour market

For this indicator, we have three alternative questions, aiming at capturing the same type of choice. As pointed out in the paper, our tool relies on having complete answers to all the questions. Obviously, if someone does not work as agricultural labourer, the first choice question will not apply. In those cases, we asked the second choice question. If that did not apply either, we asked the third choice question.

Preliminary question
23. Do you work as an agricultural labourer (coolie)?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
No - 2
No responsenot applicable - 99

If yes: proceed to Choice 1. If no, proceed to Preliminary question 2.

Choice 1
24. Are you free to choose for which landlord to work?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
No - 2
No responsenot applicable - 99

Value 1
25. Would you prefer to choose to work for a different landowner(s)?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
No - 2
No responsenot applicable - 99

Norms 1
26. Do you think that, generally speaking, women in your community choose the landowners for whom they work?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
Mostly yes - 2
Mostly no - 3
No - 4
No response - 99

To be asked to those who responded ‘No’ to the preliminary question.

Preliminary question 2
27. Do you usually take land for lease?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
No - 2
No responsenot applicable - 99

If yes: proceed to Choice 2. If no, proceed to Preliminary question 3.

Choice 2
28. What influence did you have in the terms of the lease?

Response Options:
Almost no influence: the landowner decided the terms - 1
Almost no influence: my husband or some other males in my family took care of this - 2
Some influence: the landowner and myself both decided on the term - 3
Almost complete influence: I decided the terms and the landowner accepted - 4
No response - 99

Value 2
29. Would you have liked to have more autonomy with the terms of the lease?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
No - 2
No response - 99

Norms 2
30. Do you think that, generally speaking, women in your community negotiate the terms of the lease with the landowners?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
No - 2
No response - 99

To be asked to those who responded ‘No’ to both the preliminary question.

Preliminary question 3
31. Do you work in the non-agricultural sector?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
No - 2
No response - 99

Choice 3
32. Do you usually bargain with your employer to get a higher wage?

Value 3
33. Would you like to have more autonomy in negotiating your wage?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
No - 2
No response - 99

Norms 3
34. Do you think that women from your community who work in the non-agricultural sector usually bargain for a higher wage?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
Mostly Yes - 2
Mostly No - 3
No - 4
No response - 99

Voting

Choice
35. Did you vote at the last sarpanch elections?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
No - 2
No response - 99

Value
36. You did not vote because (please answer agree or disagree or don’t know) at the following statements:
I do not care about voting

Response Options:
Agree - 1
Disagree - 2
Don’t knowno answer - 3

Norms
37. Do you think that, generally speaking, women in your community vote for the sarpanch elections?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
Mostly Yes - 2
Mostly No - 3
No - 4
No response - 99

Participation at village assembly

Choice
38. Have you participated at the Gram Sabha in the last few years?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
No - 2
No response - 99

Value
39. You did not attend the Gram Sabha because...(please answer agree or disagree or don’t know). I was not interested in going...

Response Options:
Agree - 1
Disagree - 2
Don’t knowno answer - 3

Norms
40. Do you think that women from your community usually participate in the Gram Sabha?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
Mostly Yes - 2
Mostly No - 3
No - 4
No response - 99

Speaking in public

Choice
41. Have you, in the last few years, spoken in public at the Gram Sabha regarding a problem or an issue that you or your community had?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
No - 2
No response - 99

Value
42. I am going to read you some statements and I would like you to tell me if you agree with those statements or not. You can answer that you strongly disagree; that you disagree; that you agree; and that you strongly agree.
I have not spoken out in public in the last few years because I had nothing to say

Response Options:
Strongly Disagree - 1
Disagree - 2
Agree - 3
Strongly Agree - 4
No Response - 99

Norms
43. Do you think that, generally speaking, women from your community speak at the Gram Sabha?

Response Options:
Yes - 1
Mostly yes - 2
Mostly no - 3
No - 4
No Response - 99

Scoring Procedures

To score the Choice question, 1 point is assigned if the respondent exercises decision-making and -1 if s/he did not (answers (c) and (d) (respondent is not involved in decisions) to the Choice question will score -1; answers (a) and (b) (respondent is involved) will score +1). To score Value question, +1.5 points are assigned if the person who did not make that choice, did not care about making it; and 0 points otherwise. A person who is not involved in decisions on major household purchases (answers (c) and (d) for the Choice question), but did not wish to have more autonomy on such decisions will score +1.5. To score the Norms question, 0 points are assigned for respondents who exercised decision-making (i.e. scored +1 in the Choice question) and think that their behavior (making that choice) is normal for people in their community. For those who exercise decision-making (score +1 as per the Choice question), but think that their behavior is not normal or common among their peers, +0.5 points are assigned. See Figure 1 in Maiorano et al. (2021) for a detailed explanation of the scoring procedure.

Original Citation

Maiorano, D., Shrimankar, D., Thapar-Björkert, S., & Blomkvist, H. (2021). Measuring empowerment: Choices, Values and Norms. World Development, 138, 105220. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2020.105220

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