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International Women’s Day 2016: Empowering women with data and evidence in Bangladesh

One of a researcher’s biggest fears is that research outputs go unread, gathering dust on people’s shelves before ending up in the recycling bin.  However, this fear was unfounded for our work on the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI), which has gone from esoteric research tool to a widely-used data collection tool that has inspired a new generation of policies and programs for women’s empowerment in Bangladesh.  Our long history of working in Bangladesh, coupled with an impressive record of policy engagement, made Bangladesh an ideal setting for asking the following research question:  How does one really empower women in agriculture?

Head over to IFPRI.org for the rest of the article. 

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Empowerment matters: “Invisible Women” in Niger produce less food

Fleur Wouterse has a new blog published on Agrilinks discussing recent research using the WEAI in Niger. Her takeaway messages include:

Empowerment matters for agricultural production. Less empowered households experience lower returns to their labor and use their traction equipment and animals in a less effective manner. Women are much less empowered in so-called dual households where a primary male is also present. Increasing the empowerment of these women, for example, through leadership training or encouraging membership in groups (rotating savings schemes or producer organizations) will ultimately generate benefits in terms of increased food production.

Visit the IFPRI Slideshare site to view Fleur’s presentation on this work last year, available here.

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2015 Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium: Empowering Women and Girls through STEM Education

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Empowering Women and Girls through STEM Education

2015 Borlaug Dialogue 

Join us October 14-16 as we celebrate the 101st Anniversary of the birth of our founder, Dr. Norman E. Borlaug.

With an outstanding “faculty” of international experts for Borlaug 101, a 3-day “course” on The Fundamentals of Global Food Security.

As we award the World Food Prize to Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, the 2015 Borlaug Dialogue will have a focus on the importance of educating girls, especially in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to eradicate hunger.

Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair, Clinton Foundation will deliver the opening keynote address on Wednesday afternoon October 14.

Chelsea will then join a panel discussion moderated by Catherine Bertini,  2003 World Food Prize Laureate featuring: Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Past Chair, STEM Food and Ag Council, Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, Mary Wagner, Senior Vice President, Starbucks; Michiel Bakker, Director, Google Food, and Robb Fraley, 2013 World Food Prize Laureate.

The conversation will continue on Thursday October 15 with a keynote address by Sheryl WuDunn, Pulizer Prize winning journalist, banker, and co-author: A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity.

And on Friday October 16, hear from Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chairman of BRAC, whose work to empower and educate women and girls provided a pathway out of poverty for millions, as he delivers his World Food Prize laureate lecture.

Register for the full week of events at this link.

Click here for the speaker list.

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Help WEAI Help You: New Opportunities to Utilize the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index

The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) is the first comprehensive and standardized measure to directly capture women’s empowerment and inclusion levels in the agricultural sector. Since its launch in 2012, the WEAI has evolved as global partners have adapted and utilized the Index in diverse ways to design and implement interventions that address the constraints and barriers women face.

September’s Ag Sector Council seminar will trace the evolution of the WEAI and discuss why women’s empowerment is an essential evaluation component when integrating gender into agricultural programs. The speakers will then outline the next stages of the WEAI’s development—the introduction of the Abbreviated WEAI (A-WEAI), a streamlined and modified form of the original Index, and a project-level WEAI (Pro-WEAI), designed to be applicable for use by agriculture and food security projects and activities. Lastly, the speakers will share details about opportunities for activities to receive support to pilot and validate the Pro-WEAI indicators and methodology, as well as to join the WEAI Community of Practice.

Read more about the event and RSVP here.

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New publication: Rural Women and Empowerment Topic Guide

The Rural Women and Empowerment Topic Guide is now published and available at:

It was prepared through the Evidence on Demand information hub (http://www.evidenceondemand.info/homepage.aspx) for DFID livelihood officers, but can be a resource for a wider audience working in rural areas.  There are 5 sections and links to further gender related resources
1.       Empowerment – overview and debates
2.       Supporting empowerment at the policy and programming levels
3.       Waged work and social protection and empowerment
4.       Entrepreneurship, value chains and empowerment
5.       Monitoring, evaluating and assessing impact.

Other Guides on topics such as climate, environment and livelihoods are also available at: http://www.evidenceondemand.info/list-of-topic-guides

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Gender Methods Seminar: Gender, Power, and Decision-making in Southern Nyanza, Kenya

The IFPRI Gender Task Force invites you to a Gender Methods Seminar:

Gender, Power, and Decision-making in Southern Nyanza, Kenya

Presenter: Noora-Lisa Aberman

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Slides and recording from the presentation are now available here.

What types of research questions lend themselves to qualitative versus quantitative analysis?  This presentation will explore the choice of analytical approach with an emphasis on the usefulness of systematic qualitative analysis. Then it will contrast two different analytical approaches, using recent examples of research from Southern Kenya exploring concepts of gender and power.

The first study, “Gendered perceptions of power at the household and group level in Southern Nyanza, Kenya,” uses open coding to understand how women and men themselves define power. This study looks at socially constructed definitions of power and decision-making between men and women at home and in mixed-sex self-help groups with the intention of informing existing economic and development paradigms in terms of how they define and measure power. The second study, “Assessing the gender-inclusive governance of self-help groups in Southern Nyanza, Kenya,” develops a framework based on theory and evidence on women and group participation that determines the broad coding themes. This study examines the governance mechanisms that promote women’s substantive participation in groups.

While both are qualitative studies from the same sample on similar topics, the different types of questions lend themselves to different analytical approaches. This presentation will review and compare these analytical approaches, as well as describe the study results and conclusions.

Presenter’s Bio:

 Noora-Lisa Aberman is the Country Program Manager for IFPRI’s Malawi Strategy Support Program (MaSSP). She largely focuses on enhancing the role that research plays in the policy dialogue through improving communications tools, developing partnerships, and undertaking policy process research. Previously, as a Senior Program Analyst with the Poverty, Health and Nutrition Division, Noora worked on a broad range of programs related to food security, health, and nutrition throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. She holds an MA in International Economic Policy from American University and is pursuing a PhD in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics at Hohenheim University as an external student.


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Webinar: Re-Thinking the role of energy technology for women’s empowerment

Webinar: Re-Thinking the role of energy technology for women’s empowerment 

EmpowerWomen.org is hosting a Webinar organized by UNIDO in cooperation with the Climate Technology Centre and Network, UN Women, and ENERGIA on 6 May 2015 from 8:30am to 10:30am (EDT). Join the debate with remarkable experts and entrepreneurs in the field of sustainable energy to rethink the role of climate technologies for women’s empowerment.


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Event: Beijing+20: Gender, Power, and Decision-Making

The Gender and Inclusive Development Workgroup Presents:

Beijing+20: Gender, Power and Decision-MakingTuesday, February 24, 2015
12:30 – 2:00 PM
National Democratic Institute
455 Massachusetts Ave NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DCOn February 24, the SID GID Beijing+20 discussion series continues with a conversation on Point G: “Women in Power and Decision-Making,” co-hosted with the National Democratic Institute and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. The discussion will begin with an exploration of progress made since 1995 toward women’s equal and active participation in power structures and decision-making, as well as their capacity to participate in decision-making and leadership.

Panelists will comment on the best practices that have evolved and moved women forward in the political sphere since 1995, as well as on emerging issues and future opportunities. The frameworks of international development work are shifting and being reshaped; these frameworks, like the Sustainable Development Goals, offer new opportunities for women in politics. The panel will explore how current and proven strategies can be built upon and carried forward, and how a more integrated, inclusive approach to democracy development might provide greater opportunity to achieving sustainable development overall.

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Gender Methods Seminar today: Measuring Women’s Empowerment in Rural India Using Vignettes

Slides from the presentation are available at the end of this post.

Abstract: Many development projects have empowerment as one of their goals or as a means to achieve other development goals. Yet, the measurement of empowerment has proved very difficult and is riddled with technical and conceptual problems. Current approaches to measurement of empowerment rely on long questionnaires and, to some extent, on subjective perceptions which are not comparable across groups. In this paper we propose a method for measuring self-reported empowerment using anchoring vignettes and provide an application to a sample of rural women in Andhra Pradesh. This method is simple to administer and addresses biases in subjective perceptions. We show how perceptions vary systematically across groups and how they can be corrected for. We also show how the impact of a project on empowerment can be tested. In our application we find that most of the differences in self-reported empowerment are perceptual and that a self-help group intervention does not increase women’s empowerment.

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World Bank publication on Voice and Agency available for download

ThumbnailThe World Bank Group has released for purchase and free download its groundbreaking report Voice and Agency: Empowering Women and Girls for Shared Prosperity. 

The 2012 report recognized that expanding women’s agency – their ability to make decisions and take advantage of opportunities is key to improving their lives as well as the world. This report represents a major advance in global knowledge on this critical front. The vast data and thousands of surveys distilled in this report cast important light on the nature of constraints women and girls continue to face globally. This report identifies promising opportunities and entry points for lasting transformation, such as interventions that reach across sectors and include life-skills training, sexual and reproductive health education, conditional cash transfers, and mentoring. It finds that addressing what the World Health Organization has identified as an epidemic of violence against women means sharply scaling up engagement with men and boys. The report also underlines the vital role information and communication technologies can play in amplifying women’s voices, expanding their economic and learning opportunities, and broadening their views and aspirations. The World Bank Group’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity demand no less than the full and equal participation of women and men, girls and boys, around the world.

Sign up for periodic updates and invitations from the World Bank Gender Team.