Use agri index to measure women empowerment, agencies urged

MANILA-- Agencies planning to launch development programs for women in the agriculture sector should consider using an index to measure whether its gender-sensitive project is geared toward empowering women, an expert said.

"If they want to know if these women are empowered, then measure it," Dr. Hazel Malapit said on the sidelines of her talk on the development of the project-level Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index (pro-WEAI) at the University of the Philippines on Wednesday.

The pro-WEAI index is a new tool to measure and assess the women's empowerment, design appropriate strategies to address identified deficiencies, and monitor a project's outcomes.

The pro-WEAI was developed by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Cultural Practice, LCC, Oxford Poverty, and Human Development Initiative, Emory University, and 13 agricultural development projects participating in the Gender, Agriculture and Assets Project Phase 2 (GAAP2).

Malapit, a senior research coordinator at IFPRI, said simply including women in gender-sensitive agricultural development programs does not necessarily mean the beneficiary is empowered.

Merely including and increasing women's well-being, for example on food security, income and health, would only "reach" and "benefit" the beneficiary, she said.

For a project to empower women, its goal must be to strengthen the beneficiaries' ability to make strategic life choices and to put those choices into action.

To measure this, the pro-WEAI uses 12 indicators mapped into three domains-- the intrinsic agency (power within), instrumental agency (power to), and the collective agency (power with).

Under these three types of power, a woman's empowerment is measured through her autonomy in income, self-efficacy, attitude about intimate partner violence, respect among household members, input in productive decisions, ownership of land, access to financial services, control over use of income, work balance, visiting of important locations, group membership and membership in influential groups. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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