Photo: Inter-American Development Bank
The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) – part of the PIM portfolio and a joint effort of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), and USAID under the US Feed the Future Initiative – is the first comprehensive and standardized measure of women’s empowerment and inclusion in the agricultural sector in developing countries. Launched in 2012, the index aims to help improve understanding of the linkages between women’s empowerment, agricultural productivity, and household food security. By doing so, it helps to diagnose empowerment gaps, identify and prioritize interventions to close these gaps, and test the effectiveness of these interventions.
The WEAI has been adopted by a wide range of research and development organizations (e.g., Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and UN Women). In 2017, the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) biennial reporting framework and guidelines recommended that the WEAI be used for measuring the indicator on “Proportion of rural women that are empowered in agriculture.” The Inter-American Development Bank used the WEAI to assess the impact of agricultural projects on women’s empowerment in Bolivia and Nicaragua, adjusted interventions as a result, and is mainstreaming the WEAI in land titling projects in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru. USAID used findings from measures of the WEAI in the Feed the Future target countries including Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nepal, and Uganda to target key areas of women’s disempowerment in the design of the Feed the Future programs and inform the development of the United States Global Food Security Strategy Country Plans for Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Honduras, Kenya, and Nigeria. The WEAI also guided the Feed the Future Bangladesh Women’s Empowerment Activity (2014-2018), aimed at improving gender parity and increasing women’s contribution to economic growth in Bangladesh. In addition, the Governments of Bangladesh and Ethiopia used the WEAI findings to inform their national agriculture and nutrition programs.
As of February 2019, 86 organizations in 53 countries have used the original index or one of its versions. The Abbreviated-WEAI (A-WEAI) is a simpler tool designed for use on a wider scale. Work is ongoing to develop the pro-WEAI, tailored for project use with emphasis on aspects of empowerment related to health and nutrition (with support from the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health), and the WEAI for Value Chains (WEAI4VC), which focuses on measuring women’s empowerment across multiple stages of the value chain.
This work forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM) portfolio under Flagship 6: Cross-cutting Gender Research and Coordination
This story is part of the PIM 2018 Outcomes collection. For more information about our work in 2018, see PIM Achievements in 2018: Highlights and Annual report 2018: CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM).
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), USAID under the US Feed the Future Initiative.
Cross-cutting Gender Research and Coordination
Hazel Malapit, Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Agnes Quisumbing (IFPRI)
The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index – What have we learned? (PIM Webinar with Hazel Malapit and Cheryl Doss)