Unlocking women's potential: A workshop on measuring their empowerment Index
From December 4 to 5, 2023, prior to the official launch of AfricaRice Science Week 2023, the Center held a workshop, sponsored by the CGIAR Gender Impact Platform, on computing the (individual) women empowerment in agriculture index. It aimed to enhance the capacity for measuring the Women Empowerment Index and adopting key performance indicators for gender inclusion in rice-based systems. Facilitated by experts Florent M. Kinkingninhoun Medagbe, Individual consultant at AfricaRice and Dr Gaudiose Mujawamariya, Gender focal point at AfricaRice, the workshop targeted Gender Task-Force members and socio-economist researchers from AfricaRice. Welcoming 22 participants, including Gender Task-Force members and socio-economic researchers, the workshop also aimed to catalyze progress in integrating and empowering women in rice-based agrifood systems.
In the quest for sustainable improvements in food and nutrition security, empowering women and youth in rice-based agri-food systems stands out as a pivotal objective. To gauge the progress and identify avenues for enhancement, a specialized Women Empowerment Index (WEIRA) has been employed, emphasizing women's agency in the sector. However, recognizing the need for a broader scope, a groundbreaking tool has emerged—the Individual Empowerment Index (IEI). This survey-based measure expands beyond gender, offering a nuanced perspective on empowerment across diverse demographic groups.
"The opportunity to receive training on assessing the Individual Empowerment Index for women is invaluable. This index, a revolutionary tool in gender-related work, is facilitated through the Gender Task Force, marking a significant advancement in gender indices, I shall use it in my own research in my country", explained Dr Germaine De Souza Ibro, Economist-Scientist at the National Agricultural Research Institute of Niger and workshop participant.
Rooted in the Kabeer framework, the IEI delves into six empowerment domains, including resources, production, income, household livelihood, leadership, and time allocation. Unlike its predecessor, WEIRA, the Individual Empowerment Index accommodates various gender intersections and offers flexibility for technology impact assessments. Tested in the smart-valleys lowland development technology impact assessment in Benin and Togo and in the assessment of engagement of women in the downstream nodes of the rice value chain in Uganda, IEI proves its efficacy in capturing empowerment nuances, making it a valuable tool for projects seeking to improve gender inclusivity.
The workshop anticipates empowering Gender Task-Force members with a nuanced understanding of women's empowerment through different indices and diverse methodologies.