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The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index

The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI), a groundbreaking tool to measure the empowerment, agency and inclusion of women in the agriculture sector, has celebrated its first anniversary.

Launched in March 2012 by OPHI with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the WEAI tracks women’s engagement in agriculture in five areas: production, resources, income, leadership, and time use. Unlike any other tool, it also measures women’s empowerment relative to men within their households, providing a more robust understanding of gender dynamics within households and communities.

Read a blog reflecting on the WEAI’s first anniversary here.

Scroll down to read a number of case studies from Uganda, Bangladesh and Guatemala, watch a WEAI video, and access a number of WEAI publications.

What is the WEAI?

Women play a critical and potentially transformative role in agricultural growth in developing countries, but they face persistent obstacles and economic constraints limiting further inclusion in agriculture.

The WEAI measures the empowerment, agency, and inclusion of women in the agriculture sector in an effort to identify ways to overcome those obstacles and constraints. The Index is a significant innovation in its field and aims to increase understanding of the connections between women’s empowerment, food security, and agricultural growth.

The WEAI is a composite measurement tool that indicates women’s control over critical parts of their lives in the household, community, and economy. It allows us to identify women who are disempowered and understand how to increase autonomy and decisionmaking in key domains. It is also a useful tool for tracking progress toward gender equality, which is one of the Millennium Development Goals.

OPHI collaborated with USAID and the IFPRI to develop the innovative index.

How will it be used?

The WEAI was developed to track the change in women’s empowerment levels that occurs as a direct or indirect result of interventions under Feed the Future, the US government’s global hunger and food security initiative. Ultimately, the Index will be used for performance monitoring and impact evaluations of Feed the Future programs.

What was OPHI’s role?

OPHI developed the WEAI from the survey data and adapted the Alkire Foster method, which underpins the Index. Feed the Future, through support from USAID, defined the five domains, provided technical input on the development of the pilot survey, and provided overall policy guidance for the Index, which was commissioned to support the monitoring and evaluation of their programs. IFPRI provided overall coordination for this project, designed and implemented the household pilot survey, and developed the individual case studies, working with in-country collaborators.

Watch the WEAI video

This short film explains why the WEAI was created, how it is constructed and the ways in which it can be used. It includes interviews with representatives of OPHI, USAID and IFPRI, and presents the findings of the pilot studies that were conducted in Bangladesh, Guatemala and Uganda.

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Download video file

How can I find out more?

Read the full WEAI brochure

Download the pilot survey modules and handbook (links to the IFPRI website)

Read the USAID blog on the WEAI

Read the WEAI press release

  Watch a video from the launch event on 28 February 2012

 Case Studies

Uganda Peace Florence Harriet Lilian
Bangladesh Aysha Seema Nadia Naju
Guatemala Angela Maria Ingrid Isabel

Launch events UN & Houses of Parliament

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WEAI video

Watch a short film about why the WEAI was created, how it is constructed and the ways in which it can be used.

Download video file

WEAI training materials

The files below were created for and during a WEAI training session held at OPHI at the end of June 2012, and explain how the WEAI is calculated.

Introduction to the WEAI (video)

Constructing the WEAI (presentation)

Calculating the WEAI using the .do files (video)

Explaining the WEAI autonomy module, questions G03a-G035 (audio)

Calculating the WEAI (.do file)

WEAI dataprep (.do file)