Evidence-based Measures of Empowerment for Research on Gender Equality



Building the evidence on COVID-19 and Gender through rigorous survey measurement  

Principal Investigator: Dr. Modupe Taiwo

Institution: Save the Children, Nigeria

Project Description: Two research studies were untaken: 1) A  rapid assessment was conducted to understand the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on adolescents’ agency in Northern Nigeria. Phone interviews were conducted to collect data. The research areas of focus were access and utilization of adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) services, household chores and decision-making power. The findings are reported in this blog post.  2) A survey was administered to a range of health workers in Nigeria to assess their knowledge on COVID-19 infection, assess the impact of pandemic on services offered in the health facilities, examine how female health workers cope with health care work and household tasks in COVID-19 situation and gain the perspective of health workers on the impact of COVID-19 on the community. A detailed report on the findings are found here.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Michelle Decker

Institution: Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

Project Description: The project employed mixed-methods data collection to study the impacts of COVID-19 among adolescents in Nairobi, Kenya. EMERGE modules used and adapted included those on agency, partner violence, reproductive coercion, labor force participation and digital connectivity

Principal Investigator: Dr. Sarah Baird

Institution: George Washington University

Project Description: This project surveyed adolescents in Bangladesh, Jordan and Ethiopia.  EMERGE modules being tested include those on women and girls’ agencydomestic work distribution and unpaid laboreducation and the household and community effects of COVID-19. The final survey tools for Ethiopia and Palestine/Jordan can be fond on the GAGE website here and here respectively.

Principal Investigator: Shikha Shrestha

Institution: VSO Nepal / Emory University

Project Description: This planned project is a cross-sectional study that will survey adolescents, in and out of school children, children with disabilities and a sample of parents in Nepal. The project aims to explore the impacts of COVID-19 on household decision-making process, freedom of movement, girls’ behaviors and control mechanisms.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Karen Austrian

Institution: Population Council, Kenya

Project Description: This project studied the impacts of COVID-19 on social, health and economic outcomes among adults and adolescents in urban Kenya. The EMERGE modules tested here include decision making and partner violence.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Jennifer Wagman

Institution: Africa Medical and Behavioural Sciences Organization (AMBSO); University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)

Project Description: This project explores women’s experiences of intimate partner violence, reproductive coercion, self-efficacy, mental health, alcohol use and other coping mechanisms in Uganda in context of COVID-19.  A mix of in-person and phone based surveys were used to collect data. EMEGRE modules tested included coping and self-efficacy, reproductive coercion, violence and the household and community effects of COVID-19. Other mental health measures were tested here as well.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Anamika Priyadarshini and Dr.Shiney Chakraborty

Institution: C3 India

Project Description: C3 India conducted a survey with Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) in rural Bihar, India to study leadership in the context of COVID-19. EMERGE measures used included those from violence and the household and community effects of COVID-19 modules. Preliminary findings demonstrate their role in arranging for food and dry ration, managing the influx of returning migrants from quarantine centers and engaging with district level officials.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Rohini Pande, Dr. Charity Troyer Moore, Dr. Simone Schaner, Jenna Allard, Dr. Yusuf Neggers, Dr. Maulik Jagnani

Institution: Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR); Yale University

Project Description: This project studies the impact of COVID-19 on migrants in Bihar and Chhattisgarh, India. The EMERGE modules it tests are migration process and quarantine, financial stressors and food insecurity, social support and community engagement and the household and community effects of COVID-19.


Inclusion of high-quality women’s economic empowerment measures on agency and social norms in Wave 7 of the multi-national World Values Survey

Principal Investigator: Anna Mia Ekström (Karolinksa Institute) and Bi Puranen (World Values Survey)

Institution: Karolinksa Institute and the World Values SurveyProject

Project Description: The EMERGE Project has partnered with the Karolinksa Institute and the World Values Survey to increase the inclusion of high-quality women’s economic empowerment measures on agency and social norms in Wave 7 of the multi-national World Values Survey. To date, our technical guidance and recommendations have resulted in new measures collected in the Ethiopia and Zimbabwe surveys and added in the upcoming surveys in Rwanda and India.

In Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe, where the survey will sample 1200 individuals in each country, new measures supported by this investment were included in the Gender and SRHR module on the following topics: norms around sexual harassment and abuse in public places, agency in working outside the home, and social norms on women working outside the home.

In India, where the survey will reach 5,000 individuals, including 500 adolescents ages 15 to 17, new measures for this investment appear in the Gender and SRHR module, the new WEE module, and the new COVID-19 module. The new or revised questions focus on the following:

  • In the Gender and SRHR module: Norms around sexual harassment and abuse in public places; son preference; marital choice- sanctions; and agency and norms in freedom of movement
  • In the WEE module: This is a new module that includes new measures supported by this investment on the following topics: agency working outside the home; social norms and sanctions on women working outside the home; financial contribution to household; decision making; workplace sexual harassment- social norms and experience; agency and norms in gender discrimination in the workplace; agency over household resources; and collective efficacy in community leadership and voice.

In the COVID-19 module: This is a new module that includes measures supported by this investment on the following topics: financial and food insecurity; effect on employment; domestic burden (household chores, caretaking) on women; effects on children and girls education and girls household burden; violence against women and children; community violence; mental health; care seeking behavior- generally and among women (in maternal and child health, reproductive health and child immunizations); safety and security; and trust in government and institutions.



Development of a measure of observer intervention of sexual harassment
Principal Investigators:
Dr. Aarti Shyamsundar 
Institution: Sofia College, Mumbai (in collaboration)
Project Description:
This project aims to develop a measure of Observer Intervention of sexual harassment at the workplace using the single response Situational Judgement (SJ) format. This tool would be designed to identify likelihood of observer intervention in cases of sexual harassment at work, and then to coach people on appropriate observer intervention behaviours. The findings and tool are available here.

Development of a women economic empowerment scale
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Anand Venkatesh and Dr. Preeti Priya
Institution: Institute of Rural Management, Anand
Project Description: 
The project aims to develop and validate a scale of women empowerment in subsistence marketplaces with specific reference to empowerment in market domain. The research will take place in the Indian state of Gujarat which has a rich tradition of collective action, co-operation and more specifically, market-led rural livelihood interventions. The working paper is available here.

Development of a measure of local collective action
Principal Investigator: Dr. Nivedita Narain
Institution: Professional Assistance for Development Action
Project Description: The project aims to identify effective, context-specific, cost-effective ways of measuring local collective action and political participation in India, using the platform of women’s self-help groups (SHGs). This project will also explore innovative and empowering data collection mechanisms.



Development and Testing of the Relative Autonomy Index to measure women’s household autonomy
Principal Investigators:
Dr. Swati Dutta and Dr. Mythri Prasad
Institution: Institute for Human Development, New Delhi
Project Description:
The team of researchers, led by Drs. Dutta and Prasad will develop a measure of women’s household autonomy within urban contexts by measuring the self-perception of women to act autonomously in her household and control over personal-decision making, and the ambient environment that encourages or discourages her autonomy. Using a stratified random sampling experimental design, the measure will be tested among 300 middle-income women, representing three income groups and who have overcome economic barriers to gender empowerment. The pilot testing for this measure will take place in urban neighborhoods in Delhi.

Development and Testing of Measure to Understand Gender Bias in Third-Party Sanctioned Punishment
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Tarun Jain
Institution: Indian School of Business, Hyderabad
Project Description:
This project makes use of a variation of “The Dictator Game” to understand gender bias in third-party sanctioned punishments in two states in India. To explore the influence of cultural norms on such biases, the measure will be pilot tested in 20 villages each, in Haryana and Meghalaya, two Indian states with large communities that follow patrilineal and matrilineal kinship practices respectively.



Development of Gender-Specific Human Development Index
Principal Investigator: Dr. Udaya Shankar Mishra
Institution: Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvanathapuram
Project Description:
This project seeks to construct a gender segregated Human Development Index (HDI) for all major Indian states, to be considered as a measure of development. In developing such a measure, Dr. Mishra will draw on the strength of the existing HDI, a widely-accepted comparative tool for reading development across countries by policymakers and governments and create an HDI that explicitly takes into account inequalities in, and departures from, the ideal of gender equity across the development domains of health, income and education.

Measure of Gender Attitudes using Implicit Assessment Testing
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Tarun Jain
Indian School of Business, Hyderabad
Project Description:
This project focuses on the validation and testing of a measure, developed using Implicit Assessment Testing (IAT), to assess gender attitudes among elementary school students. The measure was developed by the researchers to gauge unconscious gender biases among school-going children in Haryana. The measure was tested among male and female sixth to ninth grade students across 314 schools in Haryana. Through this validation study the measure has potential to be developed for broader use within different communities in India.

Intra-household empowerment, self-care and wellbeing 
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Tannistha Samanta
Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar
Project Description:
Dr. Samanta will use data from the India Human Development Survey (IHDS II 2011-12), a nationally representative, multi-topic survey of 42,152 households including a special module on eligible women that maps women’s say in household level decisions and mobility and captures questions around health beliefs, work, marriage and fertility preferences. The research will interrogate whether the household becomes a site of inequality in terms of decisions, division of labor and overall well-being for women. Specifically, it will examine whether higher scores in the household level empowerment measure allow women to “bargain” their way out from the burden of domesticity and engage in self-care. Findings from this study are available here.

Measuring characteristics of women and communities where women hold jobs outside domestic work
Principal Investigators:
Dr. Hema Swaminathan and Dr. S. Chandrasekhar
: Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
Project Description: 
This project uses data from a module of the 2004-05 and 2011-12 rounds of National Sample Survey data that collected detailed information on the willingness of women to undertake additional work at home along with their domestic duties. Additional questions explored in this study include the nature and type of work that is acceptable for women within their homes, and what assistance is required to take on such work. The project will develop measures that can be used to understand characteristics of women aged 15-59 (the active working age population) who are willing to take up additional work at home, and to better understand what unique constraints women face that may limit their participation in the labor force.

Development of measure to understand time-use differentials between men and women
Principal Investigators: Dr. Hema Swaminathan and Dr. S. Chandrasekhar
Institution: Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
Project Description:
Using a module on time disposition from the National Sample Survey Rounds of 2004-05 and 2011-12, Dr. Swaminathan will focus on understanding differences between men and women on time spent on various household and other activities, with focus on time spent instead of labor market participation in rural India. The project will calculate share of person days in a particular activity by sex and share of person days in a particular industry. These will be correlated with state-level indicators and can be used to assess progress toward SDG 5.4.

Development and Validation of Indian Family Violence and Control Scale
Principal Investigators:
Dr. Ameeta Kalokhe and Dr. Seema Sahay
Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA; and National AIDS Research Institute, Pune
Project Description:
Drs. Kalokhe and Sahay will build on the initial development and validation of the Indian Family Violence and Control Scale (IFVCS) to measure domestic violence experience by a married woman from her spouse or marital family. The data used in this study was collected by the researchers from the initial development sample of 630 married women over the age of 18 in Pune, India, recruited using random, geographically-clustered sampling.  This second phase of validation will examine the factor structure of the subscale scores, and the development and testing of a shortened version of the original scale.

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