6.9.2. Resource 2: WEEGE Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning


The resources listed in this section provide assistance to United States Agency for International Development (USAID) staff as they seek to improve women’s economic empowerment and gender equality (WEEGE), supporting them to monitor, evaluate and learn from their efforts. This list includes sources of illustrative indicators focused on women’s empowerment broadly and on women’s economic empowerment specifically, including individual, household, sub-national and national level indicators; select this link to Tool 1: WEEGE Illustrative Indicators for a customizable list of WEEGE indicators, as well as additional resources relevant to measuring WEEGE. The resources also: provide context on the current state of WEEGE data (select this link for Resource 1: Current State of WEEGE Data); include a list of institutions focused on WEEGE monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL); and offer evidence-based strategies that can help USAID staff to develop strategies, projects, and activities that advance WEEGE outcomes.

Performance Indicators: Women’s Empowerment (General)

Data2X and Open Data Watch - Ready to Measure: Twenty Indicators for Monitoring Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Targets

This report presents 20 indicators that are ready to measure, meaning that they have internationally agreed-upon definitions, are produced with data-collection instruments and have good coverage. Several highlighted indicators—particularly those that fall under SDG 8, on decent work and economic growth—reflect WEEGE outcomes, including labor force participation and access to financial services.

Data2X and Open Data Watch - Ready to Measure: Phase II - Indicators Available to Monitor SDG Gender Targets

This report follows the original Ready to Measure publication (described above) and reflects the progress made on gender data under the SDGs. It takes a comprehensive look at 11 indicators, including those related to women’s employment and financial inclusion, and raises questions about where data quality, periodicity and coverage can be strengthened.

Oxfam - A ‘How To’ Guide to Measuring Women’s Empowerment - Sharing Experiences from Oxfam’s Impact Evaluations

This guide outlines Oxfam Great Britain’s approach to developing a measurement framework for women’s empowerment. Building on lessons learned from years of conducting impact evaluations of large-scale development projects, Oxfam recommends a framework that considers all dimensions of power relations (power from within, power to, power with and power over) to enable measurement tools that capture change at the individual, relational and environmental levels. The guide also provides examples of questionnaires for measuring commonly used indicators, including those that focus on access to and control over assets, income, time use and workload.

Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) - A Practical Guide to Measuring Women's and Girl's Empowerment in Impact Evaluations

This resource offers recommendations for how to ensure that survey instruments provide useful, accurate and context-specific data on women’s and girls’ opportunities and outcomes, including ones related to economic participation and advancement. The guide’s practical tips include developing locally tailored indicators informed by qualitative research in the local context, to complement internationally standardized ones. It offers sample indicators and examples of non-survey instruments that can also be useful in data collection.

Acumen and Unilever - A Lean Data How-To Guide: Understanding Gender Impact (Phase 2)

In Phase 1 of this report, Acumen and Unilever provide a private-sector perspective on how to measure and evaluate the impact of investments in WEEGE and gender equality more broadly across the value chain. The lean-data approach described deploys technology (principally mobile phones) to gather data efficiently and in a cost-effective way. In Phase 2 of the report, Acumen and Unilever capture their work measuring gender impacts across five projects in four countries (Colombia, India, Kenya and Nigeria) using the lean-data approach. The report reviews the approach, surveys and methodology for the Lean DataSM Gender Toolkit and provides project-level analysis and consolidated insights across all five projects.

Data2X - Big Data and the Well-Being of Women and Girls: Applications on the Social Scientific Frontier

This report explores opportunities for using big data to improve knowledge of the lived realities of women and girls and provides an example of how non-traditional, innovative data sources can complement traditional ones (such as household surveys). Big data can be generated in a variety of ways, including through satellite imagery that reflects geospatial movement and concentrations, as well as anonymized credit card and cell phone data that can reveal women’s expenditure patterns, mobility and use of technology.

Equal Measures 2030 - SDG Gender Index

The SDG Gender Index includes gender-related indicators aligned to 14 of the 17 SDGs, including health, gender-based violence and climate change, as well as those related to WEEGE, including the gender pay gap, women’s work in the informal sector and access to bank accounts. The index covers 129 countries and 51 issues.

United Nations (UN) Women - Turning Promises into Actions: Gender Equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

This report monitors global and regional data trends in achieving the SDGs for women and girls, and it supplies practical guidance for implementing gender-responsive policies and accountability processes. The report also provides an overview of gender data gaps and challenges for robust monitoring of gender equality progress, including the gender-biased nature of traditional data systems.

Communication for Change, FHI 360, and USAID - Compendium of Gender Scales

This compendium—which includes scales focused on gender norms, household decision-making power and women’s empowerment—is a tool tested by experts in particular contexts for its ability to measure gender attitudes and predict behaviors. It is useful for people seeking to track changes in gender norms, beliefs and values over time.

Performance Indicators: Women’s Economic Empowerment

Center for Global Development (CGD) - Measuring Women’s Economic Empowerment: A Compendium of Selected Tools

This publication compiles dozens of resources focused on WEEGE, organized by the type of tool (population monitoring vs. monitoring and evaluation). It also includes a list of potential indicators that can be used for WEEGE-relevant projects.

International Food Policy Research Institute, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, and USAID - Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index

This index tracks the impact of USAID’s Feed the Future initiative. It measures the extent of women’s engagement in the agriculture sector in five domains: decisions about agricultural production; access to and decision-making power over productive resources; control over use of income; leadership in the community; and time use. The index also captures women’s economic empowerment outcomes relative to men within their households to reflect gender gaps.

International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) - Understanding and Measuring Women’s Economic Empowerment: Definition, Framework and Indicators

This report defines and discusses women’s economic empowerment, unpacking its multidimensional nature as a process that includes individuals, households and communities. It also provides recommendations for how WEEGE can be measured and evaluated, classifying illustrative indicators into three categories according to their focus: research and process, power and agency, or economic advancement. The latter two groupings are further classified by level of data: the individual and household level, or the community and institutional level.

UN Foundation and ExxonMobil Foundation - Measuring Women’s Economic Empowerment: Companion to A Roadmap for Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment

This report complements A Roadmap for Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment and provides suggestions for measuring WEEGE in terms of women’s direct, intermediate and final economic outcomes. Direct outcomes, for example, can relate to skills and information acquired through training; intermediate outcomes relate to behavior changes stemming from this improved knowledge (such as changes in business or farming practices); and final outcomes relate to improved employment, income, and profits resulting from behavior changes.

McGill University - Measurement of Women’s Economic Empowerment in Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) Projects: Inventory and User Guide

This study summarizes trends in the types of WEEGE measures used across the International Development Research Centre’s (IDRC) GrOW projects. It provides a comprehensive inventory of specific indicators used across six domains of economic empowerment: labor-market outcomes, control over household resources, marriage and fertility, political participation, child rearing, and access to education and job training. Though highlighting the heterogeneity present in the measures used, the authors identify the most common indicators as focused on women’s labor force participation, women’s education rates, women’s autonomy and household decision-making power, gender inequality in social norms, and gender inequality in legal institutions.

World Bank - In the Mind, the Household, or the Market? Concepts and Measurement of Women's Economic Empowerment

This paper suggests measuring women’s economic empowerment in eight facets that distinguish between attitudes (subjective dimensions) and behaviors (objective dimensions), in four broad areas: transactions and markets; social interactions, including mobility and reproductive freedom; political and civic participation, including exercising legal rights; and psychology, including self-confidence and ability to seek mental health.

UN Foundation and ExxonMobil Foundation - Subjective Measures of Women’s Economic Empowerment

This paper delves into the qualitative dimensions of women’s economic empowerment, an under-explored area of WEEGE data and measurement. It describes the current state of qualitative measures for WEEG and provides illustrative indicators related to income, decision-making, gender roles and violence, among other areas.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (APEC) - Women and the Economy Dashboard 2017

This dashboard includes indicators reflecting the performance of countries in Asia and the Pacific in four areas of women’s empowerment: access to capital and assets; access to markets, skills, capacity-building and health; leadership, voice and agency; and innovation and technology. The indicators are drawn from a range of international data sources, including the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Labor Organization, the World Economic Forum, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Health Organization.

Partnership for Gender Equity and Global Coffee Platform - A Common Measurement Framework for Gender Equity in the Coffee Sector

The purpose of the Common Measurement Framework (CMF) is to provide a set of core indicators that define data to be collected on a regular basis and that help to measure progress towards gender equity in value chain participation, access to productive resources, and return of benefits within the coffee sector. Indicators on topics such as access to finance, quality employment and leadership opportunities are defined as input, output or outcome indicators. Additionally, each illustrative indicator is accompanied by a robust rationale, definitions, proposed source and how the measure can be disaggregated.

IDRC - Measuring Women’s Economic Empowerment: Lessons from South America

This book provides empirical evidence from Colombia, Peru and Uruguay on methods and questionnaires used to explain and measure women’s economic empowerment in terms of individual outcomes. The book explores quantitative and qualitative methods to measure common proxies for empowerment, such as decision-making and labor market participation, as well as the qualitative dimensions of these measurements.

Ipsos - Measuring Women’s Economic Empowerment, An Ipsos Public Affairs Point of View

Since 2012, Ipsos conducted evaluations of corporate WEEGE initiatives, such as Coca-Cola’s 5by20 program and Mondelez’s Cocoa Life program. This paper shares some of the methodological findings from this work, with the goal of generating discussion and supporting improved measurement of WEEG interventions.

Advancing Learning and Innovation on Gender Norms - Quantitative Measurement of Gendered Social Norms

This report provides an overview of quantitative approaches, though still nascent, to measure gendered social norms. Quantitative approaches are best placed to illuminate - at scale - concepts and components that can be measured, including expectations, sanctions and individual attitudes and behaviours. Specifically, the report highlights: the value of measuring social norms; the components of social norms that can be measured; specific instruments to measure social norms; broader data instruments that capture evidence on social norms; the need for diverse approaches; and useful resources.

Institutions and Resources Focused on WEEGE MEL

Evidence-Based Measures of Empowerment for Research on Gender (EMERGE) Initiative, University of California San Diego

This initiative focuses on measuring gender equality and empowerment (including WEEGE). It provides users with an array of measurement frameworks and specific questions to include in surveys, as well as search tools that allow for easy access to indicators. Survey questions focus on employment, entrepreneurship, asset ownership, financial inclusion and support mechanisms for economic engagement.

World Bank Gender Innovation Labs

The gender innovation labs are regional in focus (Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, Middle East and North Africa, and South Asia) and conduct rigorous evaluations of interventions and policies to generate evidence on how to close the gender gap in earnings, productivity, assets, and agency, among other outcomes.

Center for Global Development (CGD)

The Center’s research examines interventions such as savings and business training for women, and it identifies system-level policies that governments and the private sector can implement to unlock the economic potential of women and girls.


Data2X is a collaborative technical and advocacy program working through partnerships to improve the availability, quality and use of gender data to make a practical difference in the lives of women and girls worldwide.


ICRW’s focus on economic empowerment explores how gender affects development efforts related to assets and property rights, as well as employment, enterprise development and financial services.

Small Enterprise Evaluation Project (SEEP) Network

The Network’s women’s economic empowerment working group addresses systemic barriers that limit women’s empowerment, through knowledge mobilization, cross-organizational learning and strengthening partnerships and alliances among diverse market actors.

Global Impact Investing Network

The Network’s Gender Lens Investing Initiative and Working Group supports impact investors who are actively integrating, or interested in integrating, a gender lens strategy into their investment portfolio. Strategies and approaches can be found here.

Resources on What Works to Advance WEEGE

The literature on what works to advance WEEGE is vast. It tends to be segmented by geographic location and sector, and it often takes the form of reports evaluating individual projects or specific organizations’ approaches to interventions. The following resources offer broad reviews that synthesize evidence across different projects and interventions. They also include a rigorous impact evaluation conducted by USAID to provide a sense for how the agency has approached WEEGE MEL in the past.

UN Foundation and ExxonMobil Foundation - A Roadmap for Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment

This report synthesizes rigorous evidence from interventions aimed at improving women’s economic opportunities and outcomes, and it assigns ratings for interventions that are proven, are promising, or have high potential and are unproven. It examines these interventions from an intersectional perspective, asking what is likely to benefit women based on age, income level, location in the economy (such as entrepreneurship, farming or wage work) and surrounding context (for example, conflict settings, high-fertility agrarian economies and aging societies).

CGD - Revisiting What Works: Women, Economic Empowerment, and Smart Design

This update to the Roadmap for Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment revisits the accuracy of the original report’s ratings in light of evidence published since 2013. Additionally, it identifies possible underlying mechanisms explaining why interventions lead to improved outcomes and summarizes those mechanisms in terms of a causal chain of measurable direct, intermediate and final outcomes. Lastly, it identifies aspects of smart design that can increase the effectiveness of interventions aimed at economically empowering women by addressing the gender-specific constraints they face.

J-PAL - What Works to Enhance Women’s Agency

This literature review explores 160 randomized and natural experiments in low and middle-income countries to distill key lessons on what we know about supporting women’s agency based on quantitative evidence. The review takes a cross-cutting approach to analyzing evidence across different domains of women’s agency and focuses on understanding the mechanisms through which interventions achieve their impacts.

World Bank Africa Gender Innovation Lab - Profiting from Parity: Unlocking the Potential of Women's Businesses in Africa

In exploring the constraints and opportunities women entrepreneurs face in Africa, this World Bank report provides examples of indicators that can help to track changes in women’s education and skills, confidence and risk-taking, finance and assets and business performance over time. The report also provides examples of indicators that capture information about households and communities, including those focused on time use, legal discrimination and mobility constraints.

World Bank Africa Gender Innovation Lab - Gender and Property Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review of Constraints and Effective Interventions

This review examines the constraints that underpin gender inequalities in asset ownership and control, and it presents findings on what works to narrow existing gaps. Rigorous impact evaluations point to the potential of joint land titling (with complementary interventions) and commitment savings to improve women’s ownership and control over land and financial assets, while also revealing the limitations of livestock transfer programs in this regard.

World Bank Africa Gender Innovation Lab - Gender and Youth Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review of Constraints and Effective Interventions

Young women in sub-Saharan Africa are especially at risk of unemployment and vulnerable employment. This review points to cash transfers, grants and safe-space programs as beneficial in overcoming the constraints young women face in accessing employment. The review also analyzes the mixed evidence on technical and business training, microcredit and interventions that increase young women’s control over fertility, and it suggests that other interventions often lack sufficient evidence within the sub-Saharan African context.

APEC - Women in Transportation Data Framework and Best Practices Report

This document presents a framework for benchmarking and tracking the participation and influence of women as transportation workers, entrepreneurs, leaders and travelers. Along with a set of illustrative best practices, the framework inspires and informs opportunities to improve the rate at which women access the transportation sector, the conditions under which they work and travel, and, ultimately, their ability to contribute to economic growth and prosperity in the APEC region.

Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security - Advancing Women’s Work Amid Fragility and Conflict: What Works?

This study provides insights to determine which interventions have worked or hold promise for increasing women’s economic opportunities in fragile and conflict-affected countries. Evidence about what works to empower women economically in these countries is limited; however, there is a rich and growing body of evidence about what advances women’s economic opportunities more generally.

USAID - Evaluation: Impact Evaluation of the Women’s Leadership in Small and Medium Enterprises Activity in the Kyrgyz Republic

This report presents findings, conclusions and lessons learned from an impact evaluation of the Kyrgyzstan Women’s Leadership in Small and Medium Enterprises activity. The evaluation used a randomized controlled trial to examine the activity’s impact across four outcome measures: business growth, entrepreneurial leadership, networks, and business knowledge and practices.