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A ‘How To’ Guide to Measuring Women’s Empowerment

Empowering women and supporting gender equality are the stated aims of many development projects; this is an area of focus that is also expressed in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Different understandings and definitions of ‘empowerment’ abound and the contested nature of the concept makes it challenging both to define and to measure, with the added complexity that different measurement approaches can themselves serve to strengthen or undermine empowerment.

This paper shares Oxfam GB’s experience of developing an approach to measuring women’s empowerment over the course of five years, for use in its series of Effectiveness Reviews. Oxfam’s aim is for this to be an easy and practical guide which shares experience and lessons learned in order to support other evaluators and practitioners who seek to pin down this ‘hard-to-measure’ concept.