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CGD-J-PAL event on measuring women's empowerment

We Can’t Measure Women’s Empowerment the Same Way Everywhere—But Should We Try?

Measuring empowerment is a perennial challenge for those of us evaluating programs targeting women. Last Wednesday’s launch of J-PAL’s new Practical Guide to Measuring Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment in Impact Evaluations at CGD was an exciting opportunity be inspired by impact evaluation powerhouse Rachel Glennerster, the former Executive Director of J-PAL and current Chief Economist at DFID, while simultaneously getting a bit discouraged about the quality of existing quantitative measures of empowerment. Here are a few takeaways for economists doing impact evaluations.

Unlocking Opportunities for Women with Smart Design

More than 30 years ago, the late development economist Mahbub Ul-Haq summarized progress on global women’s issues as a story of ‘expanding capabilities and restricted opportunities.’ This motto still applies today, with one very important difference: major advancements in research now provide the evidence to do something about it. And this something may not be as daunting a task or require as many resources as previously thought. The assumption has been that targeted investments increase women’s capabilities and then women change the world.