Evidence-based Measures of Empowerment for Research on Gender Equality

Photograph by Prashant Panjiar © Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


Gender Equality/Empowerment Measurement Development and Testing (Round 2)

EMERGE [Evidence-based Measures of Empowerment for Research on Gender Equality] is a project focused on gender equality and empowerment measures used in India and other multi-country settings to monitor and evaluate health programs and to track progress on UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5: To Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Girls. As reported by UN Women (2018), only 2 of the 14 SDG 5 indicators have accepted methodologies for measurement and data widely available. Of the remaining 12, 9 are indicators for which data are collected and available in only a limited number of countries. This assessment suggests notable measurement gaps in the state of gender equality and empowerment worldwide.EMERGE aims to improve the science of gender equality and empowerment (GE/E) measurement by identifying these gaps through the compilation and psychometric evaluation of available measures and supporting scientifically rigorous measure development research in India. To shift the field forward, improved science of gender equality/empowerment measurement is needed. This Request for Proposals invites submissions from India-based investigators and institutions for field-based pilot studies and secondary data analyses. For field-based proposals, we welcome measurement testing in the context of evaluation/implementation projects as well as primary field-testing of new measures as an independent study. Secondary data analysis can also come from implementation, evaluation, or large-scale survey data, provided there is innovation in GE/E measurement.

Request for Proposals
India-based researchers and organizations are invited to submit proposals for development, implementation, and psychometric testing of novel GE/E measures. Grant proposal may be submitted for either a) field-based studies (as part of larger implementation/evaluation projects or as an independent new project) for grants up to USD 50,000 or b) secondary data analysis efforts for grants up to USD 10,000. We ask that only one grant be submitted per lead investigator and organization. Lead investigators funded under the prior EMERGE RFP (2017) will not be eligible for the current RFP. Grants may be 1-2 years in length and require a manuscript be submitted for publication to an open access, peer-reviewed journal as a deliverable. All manuscripts will be required to include details regarding measure validation efforts inclusive of all relevant psychometric and formative research. Published measures developed through this RFP and demonstrating sound validity and reliability will also be scored and featured on the EMERGE website ( All data from these grants, either collected through new field based or implementation studies or used in secondary data analysis will be required to be publicly available within 12 months of deliverable submission.

While we are open to all innovations in measures of GE/E, to support identified measurement gaps in the field, we are particularly interested in advancement in measures related to:

  • gender-based collective action and advocacy
  • women’s political participation (perceptions and action)
  • women’s and men’s understanding of GE/E promotive laws (education, abortion, etc.)
  • environmental factors that promote inequality (pollution, toxin exposure, WASH)
  • women and girls’ economic empowerment and autonomy
  • processes of gender empowerment at the individual or collective level
  • decision-making control, including that conducted in the public sector
  • GE/E social norms

We will prioritize those proposals that focus on measurement of novel GE/E data for which there are exist gaps in the gold standard or accepted measure or gaps in measures able to operate at scale for purposes of SDG5 monitoring. Funding focus is not on the variable construction of existing measures.

Please refer to the EMERGE White Paper on Theoretical and Definitional Basis for Identification of Measures of Gender Equality and Empowerment to confirm that your measure of focus includes at least some aspects of the following key elements of GE/E measures:

  • Mutable valued resources (tangible and intangible), socially valued goods and services, opportunities, capital (both social and financial), compensation and reward, or well-being known to disadvantage women and girls, relative to men and boys.
  • Unjust treatment, access, opportunities, control/autonomy, and safety for women and girls.
  • Process of women or girls’ empowerment (inclusive of all steps): from consciousness of desire/choice, to aspiration for change, to voicing aspirations, to developing and using agency to create change, to resisting control against change, to achieving change.

We highly encourage proposals:

  • That involve partnerships between academic or operational researchers and practitioners/implementing agencies.
  • Aimed at testing the rigor of brief measures that can be used in program monitoring and implementation settings or SDG monitoring at scale
  • That prioritize innovations in measurement approaches

For more details on the EMERGE project, please see our resources and publications here. These reports provide a shared understanding of GE/E terms and definitions as well as recommended methods to develop and test quantitative GE/E measures.

Please email for any additional queries. 


  • RFP Release Date: May 01, 2018
  • Proposal Due Date: June 15, 2018 (COB 5 pm IST)
  • Award Notification Date: Aug 01, 2018


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