Women's Empowerment in East Africa

The Women's Empowerment in East Africa is a 12-item measure that captures women's empowerment pertaining to three factors: human and social assets, gendered attitudes and beliefs, and household-decision. Human and social assets includes sexual or child-bearing items, gendered attitudes and beliefs includes items to assess justification of wife-beating, and household decision-making includes earnings, health, household, and social decision-making items.


Geographies Tested: Ethiopia,Kenya,Rwanda,Tanzania,Uganda

Populations Included: Female

Age Range: Adolescents, Adults


Humansocial assets
1. How old were you when you had sexual intercourse for the very first time?
2. How old were you when you first started living with [current or former partner]?
3. In what month and year was [CHILD] born?

Response options:
Response are numeric (open-ended)

Gendered attitudes and beliefs
In your opinion, is a husband justified in hitting or beating his wife in the following situations?
4. If she goes out without telling him?
5. If she neglects the children?
6. If she argues with him?
7. If she refuses to have sex with him?
8. If she burns the food?

Response options:
Yes - 0
No - 1
Don't know - missing

Note. Responses were coded such that "1" represented greater empowerment and a more gender equitable belief

Household-decision making
9.Who usually decides how much money you earn will be used?

Response options:
Mainly you - 1
Mainly your husbandpartner - 0
You and your husbandpartner jointly - 1

10. Who usually makes decisions about health care for yourself?
11. Who usually makes decisions about making major household purchases?
12. Who usually makes decisions about visits to your family or relatives?

Response options:
Respondent - 1
Husbandpartner - 0
Respondent and husbandpartner jointly - 1
Someone else - 0
Other - 0

Scoring Procedures

Human/social assets: Continuous responses were recoded relative to time of marriage (i.e., first sexual experience at the time of marriage = 1; first sexual experience prior to marriage = 0).

Original Citation

Miedema, S. S., Haardörfer, R., Girard, A. W., & Yount, K. M. (2018). Women’s empowerment in East Africa: Development of a cross-country comparable measure. World Development, 110, 453-464.

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Scoring breakdown

Formative Research

Qualitative Research

Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

Field Expert Input

Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








Criterion (gold-standard)



Ease of Use


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