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A practical guide to measuring women’s and girls’ empowerment in impact evaluations

Impact evaluations can produce useful insights on how to design programs and policies that can increase women’s and girls’ empowerment and help us better understand the process of empowerment itself. Yet, it can be challenging to design a measurement strategy and to identify indicators that capture changes in empowerment, that are tailored to the local context, and that minimize reporting bias. Pulling insights from diverse disciplines and the experience of J-PAL affiliated researchers around the world, this guide offers practical tips for overcoming these challenges in impact evaluations. We emphasize the importance of conducting in-depth formative research to understand gender dynamics in the specific context before starting an evaluation, developing locally tailored indicators to complement internationally standardized ones, and reducing the potential for reporting bias in our instruments and data collection plan. We do not provide a single set of ready-to-go survey instruments; instead, we outline a process for developing indicators appropriate to each study along with extensive examples. In this way, we hope this guide can help provide researchers and practitioners the tools to select or develop their own indicators of empowerment that are right for their impact evaluations.

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