6.2. Understanding WEEGE Opportunities and Challenges in MEL
The first step in integrating WEEGE into MEL planning begins with understanding the current WEEGE context, the availability of WEEGE data, and the interventions that have been successful, piloted or untested. Many more organizations are now collecting and analyzing WEEGE data and have identified opportunities and challenges for advancing WEEGE. Significant progress has been made, with many organizations recognizing the importance of not only integrating gender into development projects, but also measuring their impact. Initiatives led by USAID, the World Bank, Data2x and the Center for Global Development (among others) have come a long way towards identifying data and standardizing indicators, consolidating best practices, and promoting gender-responsive data collection. Yet significant challenges remain, notably in terms of data availability and the measuring of complex, non-linear variables such as empowerment. Additionally, social norms, individual decisions and feelings, and legal barriers all affect not only empowerment but also the ability to collect data. (Refer to Resource 1: Current State of WEEGE Data, which further details the challenges and opportunities surrounding WEEGE data today.) Resource 2: WEEGE Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning provides a list of documents produced by governmental organizations, international organizations, think tanks and non-profit organizations to assist in integrating WEEGE into MEL. This list includes illustrative indicators focused on women’s empowerment broadly and women’s economic empowerment specifically, highlights institutions focused on WEEGE evaluations and learning, and provides information on what works in WEEGE programming.