7 March 2012

Africa: For International Women's Day - an Innovative Agricultural Empowerment Index

Photo: Gates Foundation
Farmers teaching farmers in Tanzania.

press release

Rural women represent, on average, more than 40 percent of the agricultural workforce in the developing world, but they own only one percent of the land, and face constant barriers to equality and success.

The Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) measures empowerment, agency, and inclusion of women in this sector to identify areas for improvement. The index uses the Alkire Foster Method, which measures multidimensional poverty, well-being, and inequality against multiple criteria at both the individual and household level.

Developed by the Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI) in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the project informs Obama's Feed the Future program, a global hunger and poverty initiative.

Within five different domains, including control of income, decisions about agricultural production, and time use, the WEAI measures the leadership roles and extent of empowerment and involvement of women in the agriculture sector of the developing world.

For policymakers, development organizations and institutions working on women's empowerment initiatives, the index can be a crucial tool for increasing the understanding of the links between women's empowerment, agricultural growth, and food security, and will hopefully lead to a more equitable agricultural system.

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