Subjective Measures of Women’s Economic Empowerment

Topic: Women’s Economic Empowerment
Type: Report
Author: Agnes Quisumbing, Deborah Rubin, and Katie Sproule Date: September 2016

Most initiatives that are collecting data focus on objective measures of women’s economic empowerment (such as productivity, loan amounts, and income) but very few measure women’s subjective experiences of economic empowerment quantitatively (such as self-esteem, satisfaction with work and life, and stress levels.)

This latter measurement is important especially in the context of rural women entrepreneurs as it can offer measures of barriers women face to entrepreneurship and how they feel about different aspects of the process may shape the paths they take, whether to grow and expand their businesses, maintain them as micro or small businesses, or shut them down.

This report reviews practical approaches to measuring rural women’s subjective economic empowerment. It:

  • Reviews the concepts of women’s empowerment, economic empowerment, and entrepreneurship
  • Provides a rationale for differentiating between subjective and objective measures of economic empowerment for rural women entrepreneurs. 
  • Describes the current approaches in place to measure levels of economic empowerment and entrepreneurship
  • Offers recommendations for improving approaches to capture subjective measures of economic empowerment. 

Read the report here.

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