Revisiting the Impact Evaluation of Women’s Empowerment: A MCDM-Based Evaluation Indicator Selection Framework Proposal

  • Original Research
  • Open access
  • Published: 31 January 2024
  • Volume 172 , pages 121–145, ( 2024 )

Cite this article

You have full access to this open access article

  • Nihan Yıldırım   ORCID: 1 &
  • Fatma Köroğlu   ORCID: 1  

679 Accesses

1 Altmetric

Explore all metrics

Women’s empowerment programs play a critical role in achieving the United Nations’ (UN’s) sustainable development goal of “Gender Equality”. However, non-profit organizations (NPOs) running women’s empowerment (WE) programs face challenges in monitoring, assessing, and evaluating the social impact (SI) and program performance due to the lack of solid guidelines. This study aims to analyze the impact and outcome evaluation indicators of WE programs by providing a quantitative tool. A multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM) model is proposed to identify and prioritize the performance indicators by utilizing Fuzzy TOPSIS (FTOPSIS) and Fuzzy AHP (FAHP) in a combined methodology. Results validated the identification and classification of the indicators by their importance and viability. In a qualitative study with NPOs working on WE in Turkey, social impact and outcome evaluation indicators are defined and ranked by criteria set in the proposed combined MCDM framework. The study aims to contribute to the theoretical frameworks and practices on social impact and outcome evaluation of women’s empowerment.

Similar content being viewed by others

Strategizing for better life development using oecd well-being indicators in a hybrid fuzzy mcdm model.

Shu-Kung Hu & Gwo-Hshiung Tzeng

Refining the Conceptualization and Measurement of Women’s Empowerment in Sub-Saharan Africa Using Data from the 2013 Nigerian Demographic and Health Survey

Pierre Pratley & John Floyd Sandberg

research proposal on women empowerment

Empowerment resources, decision-making and gender attitudes: which matter most to livestock keepers in the mixed and livestock-based systems in Ethiopia?

Wole Kinati, Derek Baker, … Annet Abenakyo Mulema

Avoid common mistakes on your manuscript.

1 Introduction

The economic empowerment of women and girls is a process whereby women and girls experience transformation in power and agency, as well as economic advancement (Pereznieto & Taylor, 2014 ). Social intervention programs in WE gained momentum as an urgent issue in the social economy agenda towards contributing to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) “No. 5 Gender Equality” of the UN with an emphasis on all women and girls’s economic empowerment. UN linked WE with “sense of self-worth”, “right to have access to opportunities and resources”, “right to have the power to control their own lives, both within and outside the home”, and “ability to influence the direction of social change to create a more just social and economic order, nationally and internationally” (IOM, 2017 ). The vital connection between economic and gender-based inequality often adversely impacts women’s well-being (Hughes, 2015 ), especially in male-dominant communities where women are mostly limited to household activities. Therefore, the analysis of WE is essential for any social work-related context (Basimatory et al., 2023 ; Sell & Minot, 2018 ).

In literature and practice, women’s economic empowerment projects are discussed in a large spectrum varying from the role of microfinance institutions (Rehman et al., 2020 ) to agricultural production (Johnson et al., 2018 ) and entrepreneurial activities (Karki & Xheneti, 2018 ) which can be empowering only if they can eliminate the limitation brought by gender roles. The change in women’s marginalization in the labor market cannot be overpassed on the way to WE (Güney-Frahm, 2018 ). NPOs play a considerable role in these efforts due to insufficient support from the government and society with patriarchal norms (Gupta, 2021 ). In Turkey as a developing country, women’s labor participation rate in 2022 was 37.3%, strikingly lower than OECD countries (64.8%) (OECD, 2020 ). The employment rate of women of working age was also much lower (35.5%) than OECD average (62.5%) (OECD, 2020 ). Many NPOs and their stakeholders work toward women’s economic empowerment to improve these rates in Turkey; however, they face performance-related challenges primarily due to inefficient monitoring and evaluation of their projects’ outputs, outcomes, and SIs.

SI refers to a logical chain starting with organizational inputs, leading to outputs, outcomes, and societal impacts (Ebrahim & Rangan, 2010 ). NPOs and practitioners must assess social interventions to maximize resource utilization and stakeholder satisfaction. SI program execution demands performance reporting and monitoring with contextual indicators for timely corrective and preventive actions. NPOs often struggle in measurement design at project inception, due to flawed theory of change (ToC) and inappropriate indicators (Güner, 2021 ). Furthermore, the existing frameworks like MEAL and SRI lack context-specific indicators, while costly SI consultancy services and templates prove inefficient without real-time program data.

Effective Social Impact Measurement (SIM) demands robust indicators (Alexander et al., 2010 ). For social entrepreneurs and enterprises, the lack of shared metrics hampers planning, stakeholder communication (Nicholls, 2009 ), and gaining support (Bengo et al., 2016 ). Local capacity for community-level SIMs is essential (Bice, 2020 ), requiring tailored indicators. However, the literature review reveals a scarcity of research on selecting performance indicators for women’s empowerment. Glennerster et al. ( 2018 ) listed the “varying meaning of empowerment in different contexts” and “prioritizing outcome measures” among the challenges in measuring women’s and girls’ empowerment. For the former, using findings from formative research is suggested for selecting or developing context-specific, locally tailored indicators to complement empowerment indicators with more standard ones. The literature review also revealed the MCDM methods are underutilized in SIM indicator selection, and few research employ them for ranking SI indicators in women’s economic empowerment.

In brief, despite the richness of research streams regarding women’s empowerment policies (Tirka Widanti, 2023 ) and WE indicators, literature gaps persist in two key areas: (1) lacking quantitative frameworks for selecting WE indicators across different contexts, necessitating the application of MCDM models to enhance consistency and validity through sensitivity analysis, mitigating expert subjectivity (Bengo et al., 2016 ); (2) underutilization of MCDM techniques for prioritizing SIM indicators, despite their widespread use in related domains such as ranking organizations based on their SI (Amrita et al., 2018 ; Bengo et al., 2020 ; Dzunic et al., 2018 ).

Following this suggestion, this paper aims to contribute to the WE theory and practice by providing context-specific indicator lists and rankings for WE programs. By this aim, we proposed a quantitative MCDM model for SIM in WE, with an application on Turkish WE programs, utilizing the expert opinions of program implementers and Non-governmental organization (NGO) experts gathered through interviews and surveys. The findings have the potential to offer guidance to program designers, implementers, and evaluators, focusing on indicators directly impacting women’s economic empowerment and contributing to the achievement of the UN’s 5th SDG—Gender Equality. Additionally, the proposed MCDM model for indicator selection aids NGOs in aligning indicators with the Theory of Change and context-based outcomes (Bice, 2020 ).

The study primarily defines the 17 performance indicators based on the data gathered through interviews with experts from 11 WE NGOs in Turkey. Surveys with 12 WE program executors (Key Informants) and experts enabled the evaluation of the importance (weights) of each criterion (measurability, attainability, relevance, replicability, and usability in various contexts) by Fuzzy AHP. Followingly, the Fuzzy TOPSIS method ranked and prioritized the indicators by using the weighted criteria obtained from FAHP. The results are validated through the consistency check and sensitivity analysis and ensure the robustness of the methodology. Finally, the discussion of the results provided a thorough understanding of the indicators along with the theoretical and practical implications and policy recommendations.

The following sections present a literature review on SIM, indicators and measurement of women’s empowerment, and MCDM methods. After introducing the methodological flow, the paper proceeds with the findings from the FTOPSIS—FAHP applications for prioritizing the indicators. The final section presents the concluding remarks with a discussion of the results.

2 Literature Review on Social Impact Measurement and Women’s Empowerment Indicators

2.1 social impact and social impact measurement.

SI is “the consequences to human populations of any public and private actions altering how people work, live, play, relate to one another, organize to meet their needs, and generally act as a member of society.” (Burdge & Vanclay, 1996 ). The SIM as a tool for validating the contributions to social goals transformed into a non-dismissible part of policy formation for many institutions, from business corporations to NPOs (Becker, 2001 ). NPOs are increasingly expected to prove their SI, hence to assure their sponsors of the results for enabling the continuity of funds from their present and future donors (Arvidson & Lyon, 2014 ). However, the need for SIM arises from the requirement of satisfying the funders and those NPOs’ self-evaluation (Arvidson & Lyon, 2014 ). NPOs’ recognition of their social value and benefits that the stakeholders perceive is highly critical (Polonsky et al., 2016 ).

However, challenges in practicing SIM, such as varying assumptions of project members and consultants about social value or the lack of a shared understanding, often undermine the quality of SIM and utilization of the improvement opportunities (Vanclay et al., 2015 ). Inappropriate or non-contextual indicators hinder the validity of impact measurement while the dilemma of “what to do” versus “how to do” misguides the design of the SIM process, shifting the sole focus from outcomes to the outputs. Also, the SI is a new topic among practitioners in Turkey, with limited examples and resources (Güner & Keskin, 2021 ). Lack of expertise in designing the SIM process has always been a significant barrier in social projects (Social Impact Task Force, 2000 ). Köroğlu and Yıldırım ( 2023 ) also highlighted this challenge in the context of SIM processes of NGO-led WE projects in Turkey.

2.2 Determinants and Indicators of Women’s Empowerment

The concept of empowerment has a multi-dimensional focus on “resources” (control over physical, financial, human, and intellectual resources (Kabeer, 1999 )), “the agency” (having the capacity and freedom to make individual life choices implies agencies (Desai, 2010 ; Sen, 2009 )), and achievement (the functioning constituted by agencies and resources together) (Basumatary et al., 2023 ; Sell & Minot, 2018 ). Proper impact assessment methods, indicators, and appropriate project execution strategies are critical for the success of WE projects.

Women’s empowerment is an inspiring but also challenging concept for monitoring and evaluation specialists (Bishop & Bowman, 2014 ):

It is inspiring to consider the potential for evaluation to illustrate and support truly transformational but often hidden changes.

It is challenging from the measurement perspective—an abstract and contested concept boasting a range of sometimes-dry definitions causing failure in capturing its transformational elements.

In this context, Landig ( 2011 ) analyzed the effectiveness of 3 EU-funded WE projects in Turkey and pointed out these projects aiming to increase the number of women in the workforce became more successful when evaluated and monitored. The possible interventions of an agency empowering a social group were categorized by Rowlands ( 1997 ) into four power types: (1) empowerment as a choice (power to do)—domain-specific autonomy and household decision-making; (2) empowerment as control (power over)—control over personal decisions; (3) empowerment as change (power from within)—changing aspects in one’s life (communal level) and communal belonging; and (4) empowerment in a community (power with)—changing aspects in one’s life (individual level). Referring to Rowland’s ( 1997 ) typology, Pereznieto and Taylor ( 2014 ) and Carter et al. ( 2014 ) categorized WE into four dimensions being referred to as “change outcomes” in WE interventions:

Power within the knowledge, individual capabilities, sense of entitlement, self-esteem, and self-belief to make changes in their lives, including learning skills to get a job or start an enterprise.

Power to economic decision-making within their household, community, and local economy (including markets), not just in areas being traditionally regarded as women’s realm, but extending to areas being traditionally regarded as men’s realm.

Power over access to and control over financial, physical, and knowledge-based assets, including access to employment and income-generation activities.

Power with the ability to organize with others to enhance economic activity and rights.

In Rowlands' typology, some proposed indicators of empowerment in general were also introduced by Ibrahim and Alkire ( 2007 ). In evaluating WE, Carter et al. ( 2014 ) noted quantitative methods emphasize 'power-to,' and qualitative methods offer broader insights.

The United Nations Foundation’s (UNF’s) guidance on Measuring Women’s Economic Empowerment classifies the outcomes of WE programs as direct, intermediate, and indirect (Buvinic & Furst-Nichols, 2013 ). Though these topics are widely acknowledged as primary determinants of WE, at the first step, a ToC should be mapped to select the most appropriate indicators for a reliable measurement strategy tailored to specific empowerment interventions (Glennerster &Takavarasha, 2013 ; Glennerster et al., 2018).

Though it is essential to use interventions and domain-specific measures in the empowerment context, the measures include a core set of concepts (Alkire, 2005 ; Glennerster et al., 2018 ). Three determinants (psychological patterns of society, family, and women) affect six indicators ((1) education, (2) educational freedom, (3) economic contribution, (4) economic freedom, (5) household management and decision-making, (6) perceived status within the household and health)) directly influencing WE status (Sharma & Bansal, 2017 ). Some primarily available measurement frameworks with indicators or measures of women's economic empowerment are the International Center for Research on Women’s (ICRW) modules (Golla et al., 2011 ), Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) (Malapit et al., 2019 ), or the guide of Glennerster et al. ( 2018 ) prepared for NPO usage. However, in academic studies, we have not found studies significantly fitting this problem’s context. International organizations like UNF, World Bank, GroW, and Oxfam also provided a list of WE topics (Aletheia et al., 2017 ; Alkire et al., 2013 ; Buvinic & Furst-Nichols, 2013 ; Bishop & Bowman, 2014 ; Golla et al., 2011 ; Laszlo & Grantham, 2017 ; Lombardini et al., 2017 , Glennerster et al., 2018 ):

Women’s access to and control over resources, including income and assets;

Participation in important decisions at the personal, household, and community level;

Control over reproductive health and fertility choices;

Subjective well-being and happiness; mobility;

Time use and sharing domestic work;

Freedom from violence;

Community and political participation;

Well-being outcomes in domains like education, health, and labor;

Women claiming and enjoying their rights;

Being able to make decisions about the direction of their lives;

Beginning to access power denied to them.

Recently, Basumatary et al. ( 2023 ) constructed a Women’s Empowerment Index (WEI) for handloom weavers (HW), adopting 25 indicators from Oxford Poverty and Human Development (OPHI), the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (Alkire et al., 2013 ); and the Women’s Empowerment Index for self-help groups women by Roy et al. ( 2018 ), in seven domains: economic empowerment, household empowerment, participation in the political and social sphere, health, involvement in fertility-related decisions, media, and leisure time/time allocation. However, like many other WE indices, this study gives the domains and indicators equal weight.

2.3 Women’s Empowerment Indicators Selection

The literature is wide regarding the frameworks used for measuring WE, such as the study of Roy et al. ( 2018 ), which proposed an index for measuring WE in India. Similarly, Naranayan et al. proposed a methodology for developing an index for WE in the nutrition context in India, where they selected the indicators via factor analysis and normative lenses (2019). A Ghana study measured employment's impact on WE by considering objective and subjective indicators derived from the literature and applying regression for the results (2020). Nevertheless, even though the computation process was systematical, the selection or ranking of the indicators lacked an analytical approach. Amrita et al. ( 2018 ) assessed women entrepreneurship projects’ performance indicators with Fuzzy AHP, however, it was also limited to the entrepreneurship context.

As Richardson ( 2018 ) suggested, research practices measuring WE lack an analytical approach for minimizing human judgment while considering the criteria and a measurement model for constructed indicator selection. In this regard, this study aims to fill this gap by proposing an MCDM model for WE indicator selection that can be applied to various projects or programs. The following section further reveals our findings regarding the rare application of quantitative methodologies, such as MCDM methods, for selecting and ranking indicators in the WE context.

3 Literature Review on Multi-criteria Decision-Making Approaches in Indicator Selection

Numerous studies employ MCDM approaches in various contexts: for instance, Ozkaya et al. ( 2021 ) in science, technology, and innovation indicators of countries; Mavi ( 2014 ) in ranking entrepreneurial universities’ indicators using Fuzzy TOPSIS and Fuzzy AHP; Anand et al. ( 2017 ) in evaluating sustainability indicators in smart cities with Fuzzy AHP; Singh et al. ( 2022 ) in construction safety with Fuzzy TOPSIS; Pansare et al. ( 2023 ) in reconfigurable manufacturing systems with a hybrid Fuzzy TOPSIS-Fuzzy AHP approach; Rao ( 2021 ) utilizing DEMATEL-ANP-based Method (DANP) for assessing sustainability indicators through corporate social responsibility reports in Taiwan; and Jiang et al. ( 2020 ) employing Z-DEMATEL in identifying key performance indicators in hospital management. Additional methods like Fuzzy DEMATEL, Fuzzy ANP, and MOORA are also evident, particularly in the shipbuilding industry (Gavalas et al., 2022 ).

MCDM methods also find extensive use in SIM. For instance, Dzunic et al. ( 2018 ) employed Entropy to rank SIs and TOPSIS to rate social enterprises in the context of people who parted from society. Stankovic et al. ( 2021 ) used an integrated approach with Entropy and Preference Ranking Organization Method for the Enrichment of Evaluations (PROMETHEE). Lamata et al. ( 2018 ) created an MCDM framework using AHP and TOPSIS to help investors decide the superior company in corporate social responsibility. Rafiaani et al. ( 2020 ) applied TOPSIS to rank SI indicators in Carbon capture and utilization (CCU). Bengo et al. ( 2020 ) introduced a Naive-scoring-based framework for SIM approaches. Adhikhari et al. ( 2023 ) evaluated WE across various domains using AHP and TOPSIS, though limited to measurement rather than indicator selection or ranking. Some studies opt for fuzzy extensions of AHP and TOPSIS due to their ability to tackle the challenges of traditional methods by bringing a realistic solution to complicated decision problems (Dang et al., 2019 ).

MCDM methodologies have demonstrated their ability to aid stakeholders in pinpointing and reaching a consensus on sustainable solutions across various sectors (Buchholz et al., 2009 ). However, adopting an MCDM method has pros and cons, with the choice of a method determining the outcomes. Multi-criteria methods encompass various categories, including weighting, ordinal approaches, utility function-based techniques, relationship handling, and methods centered around measuring proximity to an ideal alternative (Gomes & Gomes, 2014 ). Fuzzy TOPSIS and Fuzzy AHP are chosen for the proposed framework in this study. This choice stems from TOPSIS's distinctive advantages, such as reduced complexity in both data collection and computation processes, ease of utilization, and the comprehensibility of its logical foundation, aligning with human decision-making (Velasquez & Hester, 2013 ). Besides, TOPSIS identifies alternatives, eliminating units across criteria while normalizing values (Manivannan & Kumar, 2016 ). Predefined weights in TOPSIS rank alternatives based on proximity to ideal and anti-ideal solutions. An alternative exhibiting greater proximity to the ideal solution and greater distance from the anti-ideal solution is accorded a higher ranking (Jaini & Utyuzhnikov, 2016 ). Nonetheless, considering fuzzy logic’s ability to handle data vagueness and assign weights for criteria and alternatives (Chen, 2000 ), Fuzzy TOPSIS is chosen. Similarly, Fuzzy AHP is favored over conventional AHP, deploying fuzzy theory and fuzzy numbers to mitigate reliance on expert judgment (Figueiredo, et al., 2021 ). AHP relies on a reductionist approach reminiscent of Newtonian and Cartesian thought, wherein the problem is dissected into progressively smaller components until a precise and scalable level of analysis is achieved. AHP also necessitates the involvement of experts, who engage in pairwise comparisons of similar criteria to establish priorities for ranking the alternatives (Mathew et al., 2020 ). However, this also brings a deficiency caused by its reliability to experts (Ali et al., 2017 ). Therefore, Fuzzy AHP is preferred for this study because it deploys fuzzy theory concepts in hierarchical structure analysis using fuzzy numbers instead of real numbers (Figueiredo, et al., 2021 ).

Despite the significant potential contribution of such integrated methodology, no study utilized the Fuzzy MCDM methods in exploring the importance and priority of WE indicators. In the Scopus Publication Database, we searched for the following query matching the keywords corresponding to the concepts of our research question “Women Empowerment”, “indicator(s)”, “evaluation/assessment/measurement”, and combined them with the methodological keywords being “multi-criteria/multi-attribute decision making” and “fuzzy” (excluding the exact method name, such as AHP or TOPSIS to prevent researcher bias). The search query returned no publications in Scopus Database, as shown in Fig.  1 .

figure 1

Screenshot of the Search Result in Scopus Database

Even when we limited the query to exclude the keyword “Fuzzy”, the Scopus database still did not include any publications. When the query is revised by replacing the MCDM/MADM keywords with the specific methods of AHP or TOPSIS, the database cannot find any matches. Therefore, this paper can potentially contribute to this methodological gap in the WE indicator ranking literature. The following sections introduce the combined methods in detail.

3.1 Fuzzy AHP

The Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), as introduced by Saaty ( 1990 ), serves as a valuable and pragmatic tool intergrating qualitative and quantitative elements into the decision-making process. However, it often faces criticism due to its reliance on a discrete scale ranging from 1 to 9, which proves inadequate in addressing the uncertainty and ambiguity inherent in determining the priorities of various attributes (Choudhary & Shankar, 2012 ). FAHP was developed to better the extent of the decision-makers’ piece of knowledge and prevent the risks of hidden uncertainty embedded in traditional AHP, which does not resemble how humans think (Kahraman et al., 2003 ). In addition, linguistic terms are used by fuzzy set theory for the representation of the decision-maker’s preferences (Awasthi et al., 2011 ). Accordingly, during the application of FAHP, the fuzzy triangular set is selected at first with the linguistic representations, which can be observed in Sect.  4.2 . The methodology being described by Dang et al. ( 2019 ) was used in this study. The steps after the linguistic terms selection start with the pairwise comparison matrix:

\(\tilde{d}_{ij}^{k}\) represents the  k th decision-makers’ preference of the ith criteria over the  j th criteria. If several decision-makers are evaluating their judgment, then an average preference for pairwise comparison matrices for all criteria would be as follows:

Chang and Yang ( 2011 ) suggest using the geometric mean of these numbers to avoid extreme values and to better deal with the reciprocal numbers:

where \(\widetilde{{r_{i} }}\) is the fuzzy geometric mean and \(\widetilde{{d_{ij} }}\) represents the decision-maker’s preference of the i th criteria over the j th criteria. Later, fuzzy weights of the criterion ( \(w_{i} )\) are calculated as below:

Finally, average and normalized weight criteria are calculated. \(M_{i}\)  is the average, and  \(N_{i}\)  is the normalized weight criteria.

To check the consistency, the fuzzy numbers denoted as M = (l, m, u) are defuzzied to crisp numbers (Kwong & Bai, 2003 ) as the following equation.

Then, the consistency ratio (CR) is calculated below using the random index (RI) shown in Table  1 (Golden et al., 1989 ).

3.2 Fuzzy TOPSIS Method

TOPSIS is a method proposed by Hwang and Yoon ( 1981 ) to solve MCDM problems by obtaining the alternative with the shortest distance from the positive ideal solution and the longest distance from the negative ideal solution; the positive ideal solution consists of the best (highest) values for positive criteria and the best (lowest) values for negative criteria. However, similar to what was mentioned in the previous sections, a fuzzy extended version of TOPSIS was proposed by Chen ( 2000 ) to overcome the problem of vague and uncertainty in human thinking, which eventually influence decision-making processes (Sadoughi et al., 2012 ).

Chen's ( 2000 ) methodology is used in this paper. FTOPSIS starts with constructing the group of decision-makers and building the criteria set. This method utilizes the linguistic variable sets to evaluate the alternatives based on criteria. Then, it follows the steps below, applying the Eqs.  1 – 8 (where \(\tilde{X}ij^{K}\) is the rating weight while \(\tilde{W}j^{K}\) is the importance weight among k decision-makers). Considering we have m alternatives, n measures, and k decision-makers, the fuzzy multi-criteria group decision-making problem would be the following matrix:

where \(A_{1}\) , \(A_{2}\) , …, \(A_{n}\) are alternative (indicator in our case) to be selected or prioritized, \(C_{1}\) , \(C_{2}\) ,…, \(C_{n}\) are evaluation measure or criteria. Furthermore, \(\tilde{X}_{ij}\) stands for the value of importance degree of alternative \(A_{i}\) based on \(C_{j}\) by evaluator k. The average value method is used for integrating the fuzzy performance score \(\tilde{X}_{ij}\) of k evaluators. Moreover, \(\tilde{X}_{ij}^{k}\) indicates a degree of alternative \(A_{i}\) based on \(C_{j}\) by evaluator k; a,b,c are the fuzzy numbers:

The initial collected data to address variations in measurement units and scales within MCDM problems must be normalized. In this study, the linear normalization technique is used, based on the following equation where \(\tilde{R}\) is a normalized fuzzy decision matrix.

If j is benefit criteria: \(c_{j}^{ + } = {\text{max}}_{i} c_{ij}\) while if j is a cost criterion: \(a_{j}^{ - } = {\text{min}}_{i} a_{ij}\) .

With the consideration of various weights being attended to each indicator, a weighted normalized decision matrix is obtained by multiplying the importance weight of criteria by the normalized fuzzy decision matrix, which is shown as \(\tilde{V}\) below:

As positive triangular fuzzy numbers are between zero and one, fuzzy ideal solution and negative fuzzy solution are calculated as below:

Then comes the step of computing the distance of each alternative with positive fuzzy ideal solution ( \(d_{i}^{ + } )\) and negative fuzzy ideal solution ( \(d_{i}^{ - } )\) :

Further, \(d(\tilde{v}_{a} ,\tilde{v}_{b} )\) represents the distance between two fuzzy numbers if \(\tilde{v}_{ij}\)  =  (a,b,c):

Finally, the closeness coefficient enables ranking all alternatives and the selection of the best alternative. The way to calculate the closeness coefficient of each alternative is below:

\(CC_{i}\) indicates the extent of the proximity of alternatives to the optimal solution and distance from the negative ideal solution. Hence, higher values of \(CC_{i}\) signify stronger performances of alternatives.

4 A Combined MCDM Framework Propos for the Women Empowerment Program Performance

4.1 building the mcdm model.

In the first phase, potential SI indicators for women's economic empowerment projects were identified through data collected via semi-structured key informant interviews (KIIs) with representatives from 11 Women NPOs in Turkey. These organizations included SistersLab, We Need to Talk, Flying Broom Association, Wtech, IDEMA, Red Pepper, KA.DER, Yaşamda Kadın ve Sanat Derneği, Ortak Yaşamı Geliştirme Vakfı, KAPI, and Yanındayız Derneği. Most interviewees were women with moderate experience in SIM, serving as project managers or co-founders. Informed consent was obtained at the outset of the interviews. Two interviewers conducted the KIIs through Zoom, each lasting approximately 40 min. They independently transcribed the interviews, coded the statements, and subsequently compared and merged the codes. The consistency in coding between the two interviewers obviated the need for an interrater reliability test, such as the Fleiss Kappa Statistic (Fleiss et al., 2003 ), which typically yields an “excellent” score of “ = 1”. As a result, these indicators were defined and used as the second-level criteria set within the MCDM framework. In the second phase, we developed an MCDM framework for evaluating these indicators based on a literature review. Subsequently, structured Expert Interviews (EIs) were conducted as online surveys with a new group of 12 decision-makers. This group consisted of 9 employees from Women's Empowerment NPOs from the initial list, 1 independent SI analyst, and 2 researchers involved in SIM. The final phase involved the application of MCDM methods, The methodological flow of the MCDM study is provided in Fig.  2 .

figure 2

Methodological flow of the MCDM study for indicator evaluation

Following a literature review assessing the appropriateness and practicality of indicators drawn from EI findings, we established a relevant criteria set, forming the first level of the FAHP hierarchy. In their FTOPSIS application to evaluate health, safety, and environment performance indicators, Sadoughi et al. ( 2012 ) based criteria on the SMART framework (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-sensitive) during the FTOPSIS application, while Schwemlein et al. ( 2016 ) suggested indicators should be measurable, reliable, available, sensitive, and valid. Accordingly, “measurability” necessitates quantifiability (Dale & Beyeler, 2001 ), “reliability” ensures consistent results from the same group, day, and method, eliminating evaluator bias, and “validity” underscores relevance to the topic (WHO, 1997 ). During EIs, criteria indicative of an indicator’s importance in various frameworks were defined as follows: measurability (C1), attainability (C2), relevance (C3), reliability (C4), and alignment with multiple SI frameworks (C5). These criteria align with Fuzzy AHP's methodological requirements regarding the number of criteria and levels. Russo and Camanho’s ( 2015 ) analysis of AHP literature suggested using seven or fewer criteria and alternatives for optimal consistency and redundancy in AHP. They also claimed previous AHP models predominantly featured one to three layers, with a two-level structure being the most common. The proposed framework in Fig.  3 adheres to these principles, maintaining a criterion count below seven and employing a two-level hierarchy.

figure 3

4.2 Application of MCDM Methods

This study combined the FAHP and FTOPSIS methods for evaluating the performance indicators of WE projects. Besides, sensitivity analysis and consistency check proved the validity of the proposed framework. Collecting the data, we conducted a survey with 12 experts, asking them to weigh the 5 criteria based on their importance and to evaluate 17 indicators by the 5 criteria.

12 decision-makers include 9 WE NGOs’ employees, 1 independent SI analyst, and 2 experienced researchers in the market research industry who are also involved in SIM. In the first part of the survey, criteria were rated using the linguistic variables Nurani et al. ( 2017 ) adapted in their study for Fuzzy AHP, and the Fuzzy number set in Table  2 is applied. In the second part of the survey, where the decision-makers rated the indicators based on the criteria, the scale in Table  3 with the relevant linguistic terms (Zahari & Abdullah, 2012 ) are adapted.

The FAHP process went from building the pairwise comparison matrix to the weighted normalization fuzzy decision matrix (Eqs.  1 – 7 ). Table 4 shows the final weights from the geometric means of all decision-makers’ ratings for the criteria. The criteria weights were 0.205, 0.233, 0.278, 0.138 and 0.145, respectively.

To test the validity of the method, Eqs.  8 – 9 are applied. Since the consistency rate is 2.9% as seen in Table  5 , which is lower than 10%, we confirmed the findings’ consistency. We accepted the calculated weights in Fuzzy AHP as appropriate for ranking the indicators.

With the criteria weights being obtained through Fuzzy AHP, the Fuzzy TOPSIS process started. Through Eq.  10 , the decision matrix is constructed based on the 12 decision-makers’ evaluation of indicators. Following the steps described in Eqs.  11 – 17 , the closeseness coefficients (CCi) and rankings of indicators are obtained as presented in Table  6 . A2, A3, and A4 are ranked among the top three indicators.

Eventually “number of employed or business starter beneficiaries”, “type of jobs”, “the revenue increase in the beneficiaries’ existing businesses,” and “number of beneficiaries who promoted in their jobs after the project” are resulted to be the most significant indicators. On the other hand, “positive change in beneficiaries’ view of their body”, “increase in mental well-being”, and “prevention of domestic violence during the project” occurred as indicators with a lower weight in women's economic empowerment programs in Turkey.

4.3 Sensitivity Analysis

The sensitivity analysis is a critical step of the AHP-based indicator ranking studies to test the proposed frameworks' wellness (Amrita et al., 2018 ). It is also crucial to understand the sensitivity of the results towards the changes in weights of the criteria (Perçin, 2012 ) by validating the MCDM frameworks and providing clear directions for improving the consensus and consistency among the respondents to the research tools.

Perçin ( 2012 ) measured the sensitivity in a FTOPSIS-FAHP integrated study by setting 10 cases. Five cases adapt the maximum weight for the first and random values of calculated weights for other criteria. The first criteria take the lowest weights for the last five cases while others change. We applied the same model by inserting the weights from FAHP to the model, though we used 8 cases due to the lower number of criteria, as given in Appendix 1.

Figures  4 and 5 show A2 increases in the 4th case and reaches the top in the 6th case, resulting from the C5 receiving the highest weight. The fifth case had the lowest value in C5, and A2 was the second-best ranked, showing its strong perception as the recommended indicator in many SI frameworks. Other indicators’ rankings did not change significantly; however, A1 showed high sensitivity to the relevance criteria (C3), occurring in case 5 and case 8, where the C3 took its highest weights, and measurability had the lowest. On the other hand, A1 kept obtaining one of the best ranks and can be counted as better than more than half of the other criteria. Still, it indicates the criteria measurability and relevance are critical in changing some of the results. In other words, an indicator may not be the most relevant factor to measure women’s economic empowerment even though it is highly measurable. This reveals an important finding on prioritizing indicators while measuring the success of those projects in the most realistic way.

figure 4

Sensitivity analysis of FAHP-FTOPSIS (CCi)

figure 5

Sensitivity analysis of FAHP-FTOPSIS (Ranking)

5 Discussion

In SIM and performance evaluation processes of social programs and projects, measurement frameworks including well-designed indicators play a critical role in defining the theory of change and monitoring the performance during and after the implementation phase. The utilization of advanced indicator design and selection methods significantly enhances the effectiveness of performance management within social programs. Nevertheless, within various social intervention initiatives, such as WE programs, both implementers and funders encounter difficulties when constructing evaluation frameworks, particularly in the realm of indicator design being tailored to context-based SIM. Referring to Bice ( 2020 ) and Taylor ( 2004 ), who pointed out the importance of context-based evaluation of social intervention, this paper provides a methodology and presents an application for a context-specific ranking of indicators from the case of women’s economic empowerment programs of NPOs in Turkey. In this way, this study also serves to overcome the “prioritizing outcome measures” and “the varying meaning of empowerment in different contexts” challenges being raised by Glennerster et al. ( 2018 ) in WE measurement. As recommended by these authors, we employed the insights derived from formative research to select or develop locally customized indicators and questions. This approach aimed to augment the context-specific empowerment indicators with standardized ones, addressing the challenges at hand. In addition, aligned with the concerns and needs about ToC alignment, the proposed methodology offers an expert-based view of expected and actual outcomes as inputs to the indicator set.

The field study with experts and key informants revealed employment status and conditions, knowledge and skills, psychological resources, awareness and act on gender equality and roles, and child-care conditions are part of women's economic empowerment. The mentioned topics also align with the framed indicators directly influencing the status of WE reported by Sharma and Bansal ( 2017 ). The child-care conditions can be matched with household management, employment with economic contribution, and financial freedom. Findings from the study do not include any indicator about “educational freedom” and “physical health” (mental well-being indicator can be argued for being categorized within the health category). The findings also revealed economic indicators (such as “the number of employed or business starter beneficiaries”, “the revenue increase in beneficiaries’ existing businesses”, etc.) occurred as the most critical indicators. In assessing indicators related to gained soft skills and mental well-being within the context of women’s economic empowerment projects in Turkey, this study yielded lower scores. This finding raises the discussion on the priority of economic obstacles in WE from a developing country context, which is expected to be an input to further studies. This insight is poised to serve as valuable input for future studies. Moreover, though the commonly used indicator “the number of beneficiaries who participated in the project” can be good in output measurement, it did not receive a high rank for SIM.

Referring to Rowland’s ( 1997 ) typology and categories of Pereznieto and Taylor ( 2014 ) and Carter et al. ( 2014 ), we can also discuss the ranking of WE indicators being revealed by this study based on their agency practice types. The study unveiled indicators ranking within the top seven (1st–7th) primarily pertain to economic aspects. Specifically, indicators A2, A3, and A4 focus on employment, while indicators A12, A14, and A15 are centered around income increase. These indicators are associated with the "power over" dimension, which pertains to individuals' ability to access and control financial, physical, and knowledge-based assets, including opportunities for employment and income-generation activities. On the other hand, A1, A10, A6, A8, and A11 which are a part of the “power within” dimensions of empowerment are listed in the middle ranks (8th–12th) from FTOPSIS results. The indicators being ranked between 11 and 18th are about “power to” and “power over” practices, being associated with the well-being of women and inclusivity being achieved by empowerment. Based on this categorization, it is evident social indicators related to empowerment, particularly those involving power over resources, agencies, and achievements, hold a comparatively higher degree of significance and priority for social programs. The process of empowering women to uncover their “power within” follows “power over” dimensions in these rankings. However, one might notice the aspects related to “power to” and “power with” are given lower priority, except for entrepreneurship. The mentioned classification can be observed in Appendix 2.

For methodological discussion, in practice, indicator rankings or importance levels are determined by naive methods such as expert scoring or weighted scoring models by a few experts, which raises the subjectivity and consistency problem. Despite their notable advantages, which include the elimination of qualitative expert evaluations for performance indicators and provision of relativity and consistency checks to expert opinions, MCDM tools have been infrequently employed in SI and outcome evaluation frameworks of social projects. Being one of the few studies, Rafiaani et al. ( 2020 ) used TOPSIS to rank the SI indicators and criteria for better SIM. Moreover, Amrita et al. ( 2018 ) applied FAHP to evaluate performance indicators of women’s entrepreneurship projects. Since there is no previous study on MCDM usage for evaluating performance indicators in WE projects (at least to our knowledge), especially in the context of Turkey, we applied an exploratory approach by interviewing experts to create an indicator list from scratch. Therefore, ratings of these indicators were the first attempt of rater experts in this domain, which raised the precise rating concern that Kabir and Hasin ( 2012 ) underlined. Overcoming this issue, we applied FTOPSIS, differing from Rafiaani et al. ( 2020 ). Furthermore, our approach not only expands upon the methodological framework introduced by Amrita et al. ( 2018 ) by incorporating the FTOPSIS-FAHP integrated approach but also broadens the scope to encompass an evaluation of indicators of overall women’s economic empowerment projects. This represents a valuable contribution to the field of MCDM studies within the context of SIM.

6 Conclusion

In conclusion, this paper delved into the realm of performance indicators within an evaluation framework, aiming to enhance their utilization across various stages of women’s economic empowerment interventions, from the initial design of ToC to ongoing monitoring and follow-up and ultimately to post-implementation phase involving measurement and final evaluation. Despite this valuable concept, SI has been in practice since the eighteenth century with remarkable developments within the last decades (Becker, 2001 ); the literature regarding quantitative approaches assisting indicator selection for WE projects is thin. Being motivated to contribute to stated significance of designing robust indicator sets based on project or program context in the literature, we aimed to propose an MCDM framework utilizing FAHP and FTOPSIS approaches. The literature was reviewed regarding WE indicators and their selection processes, MCDM methods used for indicator selection, and SIM contexts. Accordingly, 11 NGOs were interviewed to achieve a list of indicators commonly used in Turkey's context. The sampling from Turkey is valuable here as it presents a case of a developing and conservative country. Later, considering 12 decision-makers’ evaluations based on the criteria derived from literature, a ranking of indicators was provided. In this domain, study findings revealed the “number of beneficiaries” often used in output is insufficient to provide a robust measure of the project’s SI. The improvement of social skills, self-confidence, mental well-being, awareness of gender roles, view of their bodies, and prevention of domestic violence during the projects occurred as secondary indicators of impact on women’s economic empowerment. Indicators like number of beneficiaries employed, who started a business, got a promotion, type of jobs provided, and increase in revenues of their existing jobs received higher scores, enabling the representation of the intervening project’s success.

Through applying our proposed indicator selection model to Turkish WE NGOs, our findings not only shed light on enhancing performance evaluation but also made valuable contributions to context-specific processes associated with SIM of WE. One of the main contributions is providing a quantitative model to be adapted to any ToC on the way to designing an effective indicator set to facilitate the SIM processes. The second main contribution is the application of MCDM methods and their fuzzy extensions in this domain, which have been overlooked in the literature for SIM frameworks and scorecards. Even though MCDM has been utilized in several studies for evaluating SI, the gap in usage for indicator selection was apparent, especially in the context of WE. The proposed framework enabled the elimination of the subjectivity of the practitioners and the bias of the single advisor, consultant, or manager in assigning importance to SI indicators. Sensitivity analysis also provided a validity test for the appropriateness of the rankings. Each indicator is evaluated by five criteria: measurability, attainability, relevance, replicability, and usability in various contexts. In its current form, the indicator set and their importance weights can be applied to social output and impact evaluation processes of WE NGOs in Turkey. It may also serve as an analytical approach to design the ToC and MEAL frameworks with validated output indicators. Also, the proposed data collection and MCDM framework are valuable due to the context-based variety of WE programs, their outcomes, and the need for indicator-ToC alignment.

Here we must note the indicators and their corresponding ranking in this study for SIM in WE programs should be regarded as a proposed list. The content and prioritization of these indicators cannot be definitively determined without being integrated into the ToC which is specific to the evaluated social program or project (Glennerster & Takavarasha, 2013 ; Glennerster et al., 2018 ). The evaluators and program executors should design the indicators based on projects’ or programs’ goals; this tool may guide them through that process. The proposed and validated MCDM methodology for indicator selection and ranking is also adaptable to SI and program performance evaluations from various contexts. We also underline the focus was women’s economic empowerment in our study; future studies should be extended beyond economic empowerment, and should also deal with the empowerment of reproduction and maternal health indicators as previously discussed by reproduction research and feminist literature (such as Hudson et al., 2019 ; Thompson, 2005 ). Moreover, women’s empowerment measures from different frameworks (UNF, IRIW, etc.) can be benchmarked and merged by the indicators introduced in this study to provide a more consolidated approach to WE measures. Another important future research topic is to categorize and discuss the ranked indicators in Rowland’s ( 1997 ) typology for elaborating on the interventions to extend the agency dimension and resources. Other MCDM methods such as VIKOR and Data Enveloping can also be applied to the framework for delivering cross-validation on the results. Comparison of the indicator ranks can enable evaluators to understand further the cross-country or cross-regional differences among WE priorities as an input to social intervention programs and policies towards UN’s SDG No. 5: Gender Equality.

Adhikari, D., Gazi, K. H., Giri, B. C., Azizzadeh, F., & Mondal, S. P. (2023). Empowerment of women in India as different perspectives based on the AHP-TOPSIS inspired multi-criterion decision making method. Results in Control and Optimization, 12 , 100271.

Google Scholar  

Aletheia, D., Koolwal, G., Annan, J., Falb, K., & Goldstein, M. (2017). Measuring Women’s Agency. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper no. 8148, pp. 34–35. .

Alexander, J., Brudney, J. L., & Yang, K. (2010). Introduction to the symposium: Accountability and performance measurement—The evolving role of nonprofits in the hollow state. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 39 (4), 565–570.

Ali, S., Lee, S. M., & Jang, C. M. (2017). Determination of the most optimal on-shore wind farm site location using a GIS-MCDM methodology: Evaluating the case of South Korea. Energies, 10 (12), 2072.

Alkire, S. (2005). Subjective quantitative studies of human agency. Social Indicators Research, 74 (1), 217–260.

Article   Google Scholar  

Alkire, S., Meinzen-Dick, R., Peterman, A., Quisumbing, A., Seymour, G., & Vaz, A. (2013). The women’s empowerment in agriculture index. World Development, 52 , 71–91.

Amrita, K., Garg, C. P., & Singh, S. (2018). Modelling the critical success factors of women entrepreneurship using fuzzy AHP framework. Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies, 10 (1), 81–116.

Anand, A., Rufuss, D. D. W., Rajkumar, V., & Suganthi, L. (2017). Evaluation of sustainability indicators in smart cities for India using MCDM approach. Energy Procedia, 141 , 211–215.

Arvidson, M., & Lyon, F. (2014). Social impact measurement and non-profit organisations: Compliance, resistance, and promotion. VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 25 (4), 869–886.

Awasthi, A., Chauhan, S. S., & Omrani, H. (2011). Application of fuzzy TOPSIS in evaluating sustainable transportation systems. Expert Systems with Applications, 38 (10), 12270–12280.

Basumatary, K., Devi, M., Basumatary, S., Mwchahary, S., & Basumatary, I. R. (2023). Women’s empowerment index for handloom weavers in Assam, India. Humanities and Social Sciences Letters, 11 (2), 167–178.

Becker, H. A. (2001). Social impact assessment. European Journal of Operational Research, 128 (2), 311–321.

Bengo, I., Arena, M., And, A. G., & Calderini, M. (2016). Indicators and metrics for social business: A review of current approaches. Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, 1 (2), 1–24.

Bengo, I., Chiodo, V., & Tosi, V. (2020). Measuring a blended performance: Managerial insights from the field of impact entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship-Contemporary Issues .

Bice, S. (2020). The future of impact assessment: Problems, solutions and recommendations. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 38 (2), 104–108.

Article   MathSciNet   Google Scholar  

Bishop, D., & Bowman, K. (2014). Still learning: A critical reflection on 3 years of measuring women’s empowerment in Oxfam. Gender & Development, 22 (2), 253–269.

Buchholz, T., Rametsteiner, E., Volk, T. A., & Luzadis, V. A. (2009). Multi criteria analysis for bioenergy systems assessments. Energy Policy, 37 (2), 484–495.

Burdge, R. J., & Vanclay, F. (1996). Social impact assessment: A contribution to the state of the art series. Impact Assessment, 14 (1), 59–86.

Buvinic, M., & Furst-Nichols, R. (2013). “Measuring women’s economic empowerment: Companion to a roadmap for promoting women’s economic empowerment.” United Nations Foundation and Exxon Mobil Foundation.

Carter, J., Byrne, S., Schrader, K., Kabir, H., Bashaw Uraguchi, Z., Pandit, B., Manandhar, B., Barileva, M., Pijls, N., & Fendrich, P. (2014). Learning about women’s empowerment in the context of development projects: Do the figures tell us enough? Gender & Development, 22 (2), 327–349.

Chang, K. F., & Yang, H. W. (2011). A study of cosmetic bundle by utilizing a fuzzy analytic hierarchy process (AHP) to determine preference of product attributes toward customer value. African Journal of Business Management, 5 (22), 8728–8739.

Chen, C.-T. (2000). Extensions of the TOPSIS for group decision-making under fuzzy environment. Fuzzy Sets and Systems, 114 (1), 1–9.

Choudhary, D., & Shankar, R. (2012). An STEEP-fuzzy AHP-TOPSIS framework for evaluation and selection of thermal power plant location: A case study from India. Energy , 42 (1), 510–521.

Dale, V. H., & Beyeler, S. C. (2001). Challenges in the development and use of ecological indicators. Ecological Indicators, 1 (1), 3–10.

Dang, V. T., Wang, J., & Dang, W. V. T. (2019). An integrated fuzzy AHP and fuzzy TOPSIS approach to assess sustainable urban development in an emerging economy. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16 (16), 2902.

PubMed   PubMed Central   Google Scholar  

Desai, M. A. (2010). Hope in hard times: Women’s empowerment and human development. Retrieved from UNDP-HDRO Occasional Papers No. 2010/14.

Džunić, M., Stanković, J., & Janković-Milić, V. (2018). Multi-criteria approach in evaluating contribution of social entrepreneurship to the employment of socially-excluded groups. Technological and Economic Development of Economy, 24 (5), 1885–1908.

Ebrahim, A., & Rangan, V. K. (2010). The limits of nonprofit impact: A contingency framework for measuring social performance, Working Paper 10-099, Harvard Business School.

Figueiredo, K., Pierott, R., Hammad, A. W., & Haddad, A. (2021). Sustainable material choice for construction projects: a life cycle sustainability assessment framework based on BIM and Fuzzy-AHP. Building and Environment, 196 , 107805.

Fleiss, J. L., Levin, B., & Paik, M. C. (2003). Statistical methods for rates and proportions (3rd ed.). Wiley.

Social Impact Task Force, (2000). Enterprising communities: Wealth beyond welfare.  A report to the Chancellor of the Exchequer from the Social Investment Task Force, October .

Gavalas, D., Syriopoulos, T., & Tsatsaronis, M. (2022). Assessing key performance indicators in the shipbuilding industry; an MCDM approach. Maritime Policy & Management, 49 (4), 463–491.

Glennerster, R., Walsh, C., & Diaz-Martin, L. (2018). A practical guide to measuring women’s and girls’ empowerment in impact evaluations, Department for International Development. Abdul Lateef Jameel Poverty Action Lab, Report. Retrieved 18 Jan 2022 from

Glennerster, R., & Kudzai, T. (2013). Running randomized evaluations: A practical guide . Princeton University Press.

Golden, B. L., Wasil, E. A., & Harker, P. T. (1989). The analytic hierarchy process. Applications and Studies, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2 (1), 1–273.

Golla, A.-M., Malhotra, A., Nanda, P., Mehra, R., Kes, A., Jacobs, K., & Namy, S. (2011). Understanding and measuring women’s economic empowerment. International Center for Research on Women.

Gomes, L., & Gomes, C. (2014). Tomada de decisão gerencial–enfoque multicritério. 5. a edição-Editora Atlas.

Güner, D. & Keskin, E. (2021). IMECE summit shaping the features 2021, Social impact panel, March 18–19th 2021, IMECE.

Güney-Frahm, I. (2018). A new era for women? Some reflections on blind spots of ICT-based development projects for women’s entrepreneurship and empowerment. Gender, Technology and Development, 22 (2), 130–144.

Gupta, M. (2021). Role of NGOs in women empowerment: Case studies from Uttarakhand, India. Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, 15 (1), 26–41.

Hudson, N., Baldwin, K., Herbrand, C., Buhler, N., & Daly, I. (2019). Reproduction research: From complexity to methodological innovation. Methodological Innovations .

Hughes, C., Bolis, M., Fries, R., & Finigan, S. (2015). Women’s economic inequality and domestic violence: Exploring the links and empowering women. Gender & Development, 23 (2), 279–297.

Hwang, C. L., & Yoon, K. (1981). Methods for multiple attribute decision making. In Multiple attribute decision making: Methods and applications a state-of-the-art survey. Lecture Notes in Economics and Mathematical Systems, vol. 186, pp. 58–191.

Ibrahim, S., & Alkire, S. (2007). Agency and empowerment: A proposal for the internationally comparable indicators. Retrieved from OPHI Working Paper No.04.

IOM UN Migration (2017). Empowering Caribbean women through migration. Retrieved Feb 2023 from,outside%20the%20home%3B%20and%20their

Jaini, N. I., & Utyuzhnikov, S. V. (2016). Critical criterion analysis for multi-criteria decision making. International Journal of Applied Physics and Mathematics, 6 (3), 129.

Jiang, S., Shi, H., Lin, W., & Liu, H. C. (2020). A large group linguistic Z-DEMATEL approach for identifying key performance indicators in hospital performance management. Applied Soft Computing, 86 , 105900.

Johnson, N., Balagamwala, M., Pinkstaff, C., Theis, S., Meinsen-Dick, R., & Agnes, Q. (2018). How do agricultural development projects empower women? Linking strategies with expected outcomes. Journal of Gender, Agriculture and Food Security (agri-Gender), 3 (302-2019–3652), 1–19.

Kabeer, N. (1999). Resources, agency, achievements: Reflections on the measurement of women’s empowerment. Development and Change, 30 (3), 435–464.

Kabir, G., & Hasin, A. (2012). Comparative analysis of TOPSIS and Fuzzy TOPSIS for the evaluation of travel website service quality. International Journal for Quality Research, 6 , 169–185.

Kahraman, C., Cebeci, U., & Ulukan, Z. (2003). Multi-criteria supplier selection using fuzzy AHP. Logistics Information Management, 16 (6), 382–394.

Karki, S. T., & Xheneti, M. (2018). Formalizing women entrepreneurs in Kathmandu, Nepal: Pathway towards empowerment? International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy., 38 (7–8), 526–541.

Köroğlu, F., & Yıldırım, N. (2023). Social impact & project performance measurement methods and challenges in practice: A study on women empowerment NGOs.  Journal of Business & Economics Review (JBER) ,  7 (4).

Kwong, C. K., & Bai, H. (2003). Determining the importance weights for the customer requirements in QFD using a fuzzy AHP with an extent analysis approach. Iie Transactions, 35 (7), 619–626.

Lamata, M. T., Liern, V., & Pérez-Gladish, B. (2018). Doing good by doing well: A MCDM framework for evaluating corporate social responsibility attractiveness. Annals of Operations Research, 267 (1), 249–266.

MathSciNet   Google Scholar  

Landig, J. M. (2011). Bringing women to the table: European Union funding for women’s empowerment projects in Turkey. In  Women’s studies international forum , vol. 34(3) (pp. 206–219). Pergamon.

Laszlo, S., & Grantham, K. (2017). “Measurement of women’s economic empowerment in GrOW projects: Inventory and user guide.” McGill University GrOW Working Paper, December 2017.

Lombardini, S., Bowman, K., & Garwood, R. (2017). A ‘How-To’ guide to measuring women’s empowerment: Sharing experience from oxfam’s impact evaluations. Oxfam. experience-from-oxfams-i-620271.

Malapit, H., Quisumbing, A., Meinzen-Dick, R., Seymour, G., Martinez, E. M., Heckert, J., & Team, S. (2019). Development of the project-level women’s empowerment in agriculture index (pro-WEAI). World Development, 122 , 675–692.

Manivannan, R., & Kumar, M. P. (2016). Multi-response optimization of Micro-EDM process parameters on AISI304 steel using TOPSIS. Journal of Mechanical Science and Technology, 30 , 137–144.

Mathew, M., Chakrabortty, R. K., & Ryan, M. J. (2020). A novel approach integrating AHP and TOPSIS under spherical fuzzy sets for advanced manufacturing system selection. Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence, 96 , 103988.

Mavi, R. K. (2014). Indicators of entrepreneurial university: Fuzzy AHP and Fuzzy TOPSIS approach. Journal of the Knowledge Economy, 5 (2), 370–387.

Nicholls, A. (2009). We do good things, don’t We?: ‘Blended value accounting’ in social entrepreneurship. Accounting Organizations and Society, 34 (6–7), 755–769.

Nurani, A. I., Pramudyaningrum, A. T., Fadhila, S. R., Sangadji, S., & Hartono, W. (2017). Analytical hierarchy process (AHP), fuzzy AHP, and TOPSIS for determining bridge maintenance priority scale in Banjarsari, Surakarta. International Journal of Science and Applied Science: Conference Series, 2 (1), 60.

OECD, (2020). Economic empowerment of women statistics, Retrieved from ) or International Food Policy

Ozkaya, G., Timor, M., & Erdin, C. (2021). Science, technology and innovation policy indicators and comparisons of countries through a hybrid model of data mining and MCDM methods. Sustainability, 13 (2), 694.

Pansare, R., Yadav, G., & Nagare, M. R. (2023). A hybrid framework to prioritize the performance metrics of reconfigurable manufacturing system (RMS) using fuzzy AHP–TOPSIS method. The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology, 124 (3–4), 863–885.

Perçin, S. (2012). Bulanık AHS ve TOPSIS Yaklaşımının Makine Teçhizat Seçimine Uygulanması. Çukurova Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Dergisi, 21 (1), 169–184.

Pereznieto, P., & Taylor, G. (2014). A review of approaches and methods to measure economic empowerment of women and girls. Gender & Development, 22 (2), 233–251.

Polonsky, M. J., Grau, L. S., & McDonald, S. (2016). Marketing intelligence & planning. Bradford, 34 (1), 80–98.

Rafiaani, P., Dikopoulou, Z., Van Dael, M., Kuppens, T., Azadi, H., Lebailly, P., & Van Passel, S. (2020). Identifying social indicators for sustainability assessment of CCU technologies: A modified multi-criteria decision making. Social Indicators Research, 147 (1), 15–44.

Rao, S. H. (2021). A hybrid MCDM model based on DEMATEL and ANP for improving the measurement of corporate sustainability indicators: A study of Taiwan high speed rail. Research in Transportation Business & Management, 41 , 100657.

Rehman, H., Moazzam, D. A., & Ansari, N. (2020). Role of microfinance institutions in women empowerment: A case study of Akhuwat, Pakistan. South Asian Studies, 30 (1), 166–178.

Richardson, R. A. (2018). Measuring women’s empowerment: A critical review of current practices and recommendations for researchers. Social Indicators Research, 137 (2), 539–557.

Rowlands, J. (1997). Questioning empowerment: Working with women in honduras . Humanities Press International.

Roy, C., Chatterjee, S., & Dutta Gupta, S. (2018). Women empowerment index: Construction ofa tool to measure rural women empowerment level in India. Available at SSRN 3357543.

Russo, R., & Camanho, R. (2015). Criteria in AHP: A systematic review of literature. Procedia Computer Science .

Saaty, T. L. (1990). An exposition of the AHP in reply to the paper “remarks on the analytic hierarchy process.” Management Science, 36 (3), 259–268.

Sadoughi, S., Yarahmadi, R., Taghdisi, M. H., & Mehrabi, Y. (2012). Evaluating and prioritizing of performance indicators of health, safety, and environment using fuzzy TOPSIS. African Journal of Business Management, 6 (5), 2026–2033.

Schwemlein, S., Cronk, R., & Bartram, J. (2016). Indicators for monitoring water, sanitation, and hygiene: A systematic review of indicator selection methods. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13 (3), 333.

Sell, M., & Minot, N. (2018). What factors explain women’s empowerment? Decision-making among small-scale farmers in Uganda. Women’s Studies International Forum, 71 , 46–55.

Sen, A. (2009). The idea of justice . Harvard University Press.

Sharma, G., & Bansal, S. (2017). Determinants and indicators of women empowerment: A walk through psychological patterns and behavioural implications. Research Journal of Business Management., 11 , 15–27.

Singh, A., Misra, S. C., Kumar, V., & Kumar, U. (2022). Identification and ordering of safety performance indicators using fuzzy TOPSIS: A case study in Indian construction company. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, 39 (1), 77–114.

Stanković, J. J., Marjanović, I., Papathanasiou, J., & Drezgić, S. (2021). Social, economic and environmental sustainability of port regions: Mcdm approach in composite index creation. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, 9 (1), 74.

Taylor, C. N., Goodrich, C. G., & Bryan, C. H. (2004). Social assessment: Theory, process and techniques (3rd ed.). Social Ecology Press.

Thompson, C. (2005). Making parents: The ontological choreography of reproductive technologies . MIT Press.

Tirka Widanti, N. P. (2023). Gender equality issues and women’s empowerment policies from 2000 to 2022: A bibliometric analysis. Public Policy & Administration/viesoji Politika Ir Administravimas, 22 (2), 238–251.

Vanclay, F., Esteves, A. M., Aucamp, I., & Franks, D. M. (2015). Social impact assessment: Guidance for assessing and managing the social impacts of projects. Report by University of Groningen. Fargo ND: International Association for Impact Assessment.

Velasquez, M., & Hester, P. T. (2013). An analysis of multi-criteria decision making methods mission creep view project systemic thinking view project an analysis of multi-criteria decision making methods. International Journal of Operational Research, 10 , 56–66.

World Health Organization. (1997). Selecting reproductive health indicators: A guide for district managers . WHO.

Zahari, N. I. N., & Abdullah, M. L. (2012). Evaluation of sustainable development indicators with fuzzy TOPSIS based on subjective and objective weights. IIUM Engineering Journal, 13 (1), 67–71.

Download references


This study is a product of the Social Impact Analysis of BPFC Project Nr 9801 funded by the sponsorship of IDEMA International and hosted by ITUNOVA TTO A. Ş. (Istanbul Technical University Technology Transfer Office) in 2022. We thank all the organizations for their collaboration and support.

Open access funding provided by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Türkiye (TÜBİTAK).

Author information

Authors and affiliations.

Management Engineering Department, Istanbul Technical University, ITU Macka Campus Management Faculty, Sisli, 34367, Istanbul, Turkey

Nihan Yıldırım & Fatma Köroğlu

You can also search for this author in PubMed   Google Scholar

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Nihan Yıldırım .

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest.

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states there is no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher's note.

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Appendix 1 Sensitivity analysis—cases for assigning criteria values

Appendix 2 indicators’ rankings and classifications by power typology* and categories.

*Based on typologies by Rowland ( 1997 ), Pereznieto and Taylor ( 2014 ) and Carter et al. ( 2014 )

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit .

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Yıldırım, N., Köroğlu, F. Revisiting the Impact Evaluation of Women’s Empowerment: A MCDM-Based Evaluation Indicator Selection Framework Proposal. Soc Indic Res 172 , 121–145 (2024).

Download citation

Accepted : 24 December 2023

Published : 31 January 2024

Issue Date : March 2024


Share this article

Anyone you share the following link with will be able to read this content:

Sorry, a shareable link is not currently available for this article.

Provided by the Springer Nature SharedIt content-sharing initiative

  • Women’s empowerment
  • Social impact measurement
  • Performance measurement
  • Social impact indicators
  • Fuzzy TOPSIS
  • Find a journal
  • Publish with us
  • Track your research

U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

The .gov means it’s official. Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.

The site is secure. The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

  • Publications
  • Account settings

Preview improvements coming to the PMC website in October 2024. Learn More or Try it out now .

  • Advanced Search
  • Journal List
  • BMC Womens Health

Logo of bmcwh

Women empowerment in reproductive health: a systematic review of measurement properties

Maryam vizheh.

1 Department of Reproductive Health and Midwifery, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Management, Macquarie Business School, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109 Australia

Salut Muhidin

Zahra behboodi moghadam, armin zareiyan.

3 Public Health Department, Health in Disaster & Emergencies Department, Nursing Faculty, Aja University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

Associated Data

The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are not publicly available as all data are included in the manuscript body, but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


There is a considerable dearth of official metrics for women empowerment, which is pivotal to observe universal progress towards Sustainable Development Goals 5, targeting "achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” This study aimed to introduce, critically appraise, and summarize the measurement properties of women empowerment scales in sexual and reproductive health.

A comprehensive systematic literature search through several international electronic databases, including PubMed, Scopus, Embase, ProQuest, and Science Direct was performed on September 2020, without a time limit. All studies aimed to develop and validate a measurement of women empowerment in sexual and reproductive health were included. The quality assessment was performed through a rating scale addressing the six criteria, including: a priori explicit theoretical framework, evaluating content validity, internal consistency, and factor analysis to assess structural validity.

Of 5234 identified studies, fifteen were included. The majority of the studies were conducted in the United States. All studies but one used a standardized measure. Total items of each scale ranged from 8 to 23. The most common domains investigated were decision-making, freedom of coercion, and communication with the partner. Four studies did not use any conceptual framework. The individual agency followed by immediate relational agency were the main focus of included studies. Of the included studies, seven applied either literature review, expert panels, or empirical methods to develop the item pool. Cronbach's alpha coefficient reported in nine studies ranged from α = 0.56 to 0.87. Most of the studies but three lack reporting test–retest reliability ranging r = 0.69–0.87. Nine studies proved content validity. Six criteria were applied to scoring the scales, by which nine of fifteen articles were rated as medium quality, two rated as poor quality, and four rated as high quality.

Most scales assessed various types of validity and Internal consistency for the reliability. Applying a theoretical framework, more rigorous validation of scales, and assessing the various dimensions of women empowerment in diverse contexts and different levels, namely structural agency, are needed to develop effective and representing scales.

Recognition and measurement of women empowerment are critical for global development and human rights [ 1 ]. This was accentuated as the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 5), which targets to "achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” [ 1 ].

Although the growing body of literature addresses the impact of women empowerment on reproductive outcomes, it is only recently that reproductive empowerment was explicitly distinguished as a distinct dimension of empowerment itself [ 2 , 3 ]. Edmeades et al. (2018) proposed the following definition of reproductive empowerment according to a recently developed framework: “Both a transformative process and an outcome, whereby individuals expand their capacity to make informed decisions about their reproductive lives, amplify their ability to participate meaningfully in public and private discussions related to sexuality, reproductive health, and fertility, and act on their preferences to achieve desired reproductive outcomes, free from violence, retribution or fear” [ 2 ].

Reproductive and sexual empowerment is critical because, in many contexts, intimate relationships frequently occur between individuals with vastly unequal power. In many cultures, normative expectations toward gendered heterosexual sex roles and gender inequalities negatively influence women’s sexual power and restrict their ability to negotiate sexual matters with male partners [ 4 ].

The literature review showed that scales of women empowerment in reproductive health, especially in the past years, concentrated more on “power”, where power structures limit women’s sexual and reproductive health capabilities. These measures such as Sexual Assertiveness Scale [ 5 ], The Sexual Relationship Power Scale [ 6 ], and the Sexual Pressure Scale [ 7 , 8 ], mainly addressed the experience of pressure and coercion regarding sexual activity, sexual desires, HIV/AIDS (Human immunodeficiency virus/Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) risk and prevention, and STD (sexually transmitted diseases) prevention to better capture the gender norms and dynamics shaping women’s sexual decisions and outcomes. The recent measures, on the other hand, recognize “choice” as a critical component of empowerment. Kabeer's foundational work on women's empowerment in the early 2000s, and then developing a framework by World Bank [ 9 , 10 ], introduced decision-making and exercise of choice as the components of the agency. These concepts were used commonly to design scales of women empowerment measurements such as Sexual and reproductive empowerment [ 11 ], Reproductive Decision-making Agency [ 12 ], Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment in Sexual and Reproductive health (WGE-SRH) [ 13 ], aimed to assess women’s agency in decision making over vital sexual and reproductive health matters.

The lack of standardized terminology and measurements of women reproductive empowerment in addition to the conceptual ambiguity have directly influenced implications for its measure. Consequently, there is considerable variability in the association between reproductive empowerment and health outcomes. This restrains policymakers and authorities from planning effective interventions to improve reproductive empowerment or reproductive outcomes [ 3 ].

Although it is suggested that gender-based control in hetro-sexual relationships is correlated with sexual and reproductive consequences [ 14 ], there is a considerable dearth of official metrics for women empowerment, which is pivotal to observe progress towards SDG 5 [ 1 ]. Demand for developing standard measurements of women empowerment would be more highlighted given that adequate data for 80% of indicators to monitor SDG5 is lacking, often due to the absence of valid measures [ 15 ]. This study aimed to introduce, critically appraise, and summarize the quality of the women empowerment’s measurement properties in sexual and reproductive health.

Conceptual framework

In this review, we applied the Kabeer framework where conceives empowerment as the ability of exercise choice consisting of three inter-related dimensions including (1) resources, defined as not only access to but the future claims to material, human and social resources; (2) agency, including decision making, negotiation, deception, manipulation, subversion and resistance; and (3) achievements encompasses well-being outcomes which are sexual and reproductive health [ 9 ]. We also used the conceptual framework of women reproductive empowerment proposed by Edmeades, Mejia, and Sebany (2018). Within this approach, reproductive empowerment results from the interaction of three interrelated, multi-level processes: voice, choice, and power. Voice indicates women’s capacity to exercise their reproductive goals, interests, and desires and have meaningful participation in reproductive decision making. Choice implies the ability of women to make a meaningful contribution to reproductive decisions.Power indicates the ability to shape the process of reproductive decision-making by exerting power over others [ 3 ]. Power operates at multiple levels, including couple level, families level, and expanding to the community and societal levels [ 13 ].

Combining both frameworks, we sought psychometric assessment studies that had chosen any of the abovementioned concepts and considered sexual and reproductive health as the main outcome.

Study design and search strategy

Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines [ 16 ] were used to conduct the current review. A comprehensive literature search was carried out to identify women empowerment scales used in sexual and reproductive health and their properties. The first author (M.V) performed the systematic review on September 2020, in several international electronic databases, including PubMed, Scopus, Embase, ProQuest, and Science Direct, without a time limit. Various search strategies involving keywords, index/subject terms, and Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) terms were used. A brief sample of keywords included: (women, female, girls) AND (reproduction, sexual, family planning, family planning services, fertility, contraception, birth spacing, birth intervals) AND (empowerment, power, agency, decision-making, autonomy, coercion, choice, negotiation, mobility) AND (measurement, scale, instrument, tool, questionnaire, indicator) AND (psychometric, validity, validation study, reliability, reproducibility of results). Moreover, Google Scholar and the references of the included articles were reviewed manually.

Inclusion and exclusion criteria

All studies aimed to develop a new scale or adapt an existing scale and reported the results of the reliability and validity testing were included in this research. Studies that developed and validated a women empowerment scale but the primary outcome were not the sexual and reproductive health were excluded. Moreover, studies that used a new scale without performing a psychometric analysis were excluded, too. Studies published in a language other than English and non-peer-reviewed reports, books, and dissertations, were excluded.

Outcome of interest

In the aim of this review, the construct of interest is “women reproductive empowerment” the population of interest is “women and girls”, the type of scale of interest is “all” either self-report questionnaire or interviewer-administered, and “all” measurement properties were evaluated in the review.

Data extraction

The first author (M.V) screened all titles and abstracts from the search results. After identifying all relevant articles, full texts were reviewed by all authors. Two authors (M.V and A.Z) contributed to extracting the data from the included studies. Characteristics of the study samples and scales and the measurement properties were extracted. The qualitative data analysis was chosen to synthesize data in this study for two reasons. First, we found a large degree of heterogeneity between studies by examining the study characteristics, including population features, methods of determining construct validity, different domains addressed in scales, etc. Second, considering the purpose of this study to introduce, critically appraise, and summarize the measurement properties of relevant scales, the authors decided not to use quantitative data analysis, which has little implication.

Assessment of methodological quality

Assessing the methodological quality of included studies was performed by two authors (M.V and A.Z) separately. Both authors discussed the ranking system to ensure its accuracy. The differences between them, either in data extraction or quality rating, were solved by another author, Z.BM.

Methodological quality was evaluated through three dimensions, including the developments of items, validity, and reliability. To evaluate item development, we assessed whether a literature review, empirical study, or expert panel were conducted to develop the measurement. Assessing reliability focused on whether internal consistency and test–retest reliability were determined. Validity was assessed by examining the methods used to determine content validity (the degree to which the content scale reflects the construct); structural validity (the degree to which the scores on the scale represent the dimensionality of the construct); internal construct validity (the consistency between scales and hypothesis); and external construct validity (whether measures of constructs strongly correlate or minimally correlate with one another in the hypothesized way” (Table ​ (Table2) 2 ) [ 17 , 18 ].

Quality assessment of included studies (Methods adopted in the development of the scales included in the review (marked as ✓ or x))

A rating scale applied in some systematic reviews was used to evaluate the quality of the scales’ measurement properties [ 17 , 19 ]. Six criteria were the basis of the scoring, including whether studies used a priori explicit theoretical framework; assessed the content validity; assessed the internal reliability scores (α > 0.7), determined the structural validity using exploratory factor analysis; determined the internal construct validity through confirmatory factor analyses; and assessed the external construct validity or not. The scores on each item range from 0 (none of all six criteria were fulfilled) to 6 (all of six criteria were fulfilled). The total score of study ≤ 2 interprets as poor quality; 3–4 means medium quality, and the total score ≥ 5 is considered high quality (Table ​ (Table3 3 ).

Quality assessment of included studies (Ratings for each of the scales included in the review (1 if done and 0 if not done))

Study characteristics

The search strategy yielded 5234 relevant records. Finally, 62 full texts were reviewed, of which 15 separate scales were identified (Fig.  1 ).

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is 12905_2021_1566_Fig1_HTML.jpg

PRISMA flow diagram of study process

Ambiguous scales that measured the components, dimensions, or subscales of women empowerment but did not fit in our framework and original search strategy were excluded to consistently adhere to our conceptual framework (n = 46). Another full text aimed at the psychometric analysis of Reproductive Agency Scale 17 (RAS-17), composing pregnancy-specific and non-pregnancy-specific agency items among Qatari and non-Qatari women with a normal pregnancy [ 20 ], was excluded to achieve the maximum homogeneity of the results. Some scales such as the Survey-Based Women’s Empowerment (SWPER) Index and Composite Women’s Empowerment Index (CWEI) have been developed to measure women empowerment [ 21 , 22 ]; however, they did not include in this review because they were not applicable in sexual or reproductive health.

A detailed description of the included scales is shown in Table ​ Table1. 1 . The results revealed that included articles did not represent diverse geographical areas. The majority of studies (8/15) were conducted in the United States [ 5 – 8 , 23 – 26 ]. Two were done in Nepal [ 12 , 27 ], one in Spain [ 28 ], and the rest of the studies (4/15) were carried out in African countries [ 13 , 29 – 31 ]. The sample size varied from 235 to 4674 in primary studies and 111,368 in one study using the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). The age of participants ranged between 16 and 71. The items of each scale ranged from 8 to 23. The target population in studies were as following: three studies (3/15) included adolescents and young adults (15–24 years) [ 11 , 29 , 30 ], three (3/15) were carried out on young women aged 16–29 [ 7 , 8 , 25 ]; one conducted in young women 20–35 years [ 12 ]; six studies (6/15) aimed to assess women in reproductive age defined as those aged 15 to 49 years [ 5 , 6 , 13 , 26 , 27 , 31 ]. Two studies extended the age group of participants beyond 45 years; in one study, women at the ages of 15 to 60 [ 24 ]; and in another, women ages 18 to 71 were included [ 32 ].

Characteristics of included studies

The most common domains of women empowerment in reproductive health that had been measured were: freedom from coercion, decision-making, communication with the partner, choice, control, autonomy, and ability to negotiate. “Kabeer’s framework of empowerment” was applied as the empowerment framework in two studies (2/15) [ 11 , 31 ]; “The theory of gender and power” developed by Connell in four studies (4/15) [ 6 , 24 , 29 , 30 ]; and “Sex scripts” (gender-stereotypical expectations to engage in sexual behavior) was used in two studies (2/15) [ 7 , 8 ]. Moreover, the “Reproductive empowerment framework” developed by Edmeades et al. (2018) and “General conceptualization of assertiveness based on human rights to autonomy”, each one was used in one study [ 12 ]. The “World Bank’s Empowerment Framework” and “The sexual and health empowerment framework” developed by the authors were used in a study conducted by Moreau et al. [ 13 ]; whereas the rest of the studies did not apply any specific empowerment framework.

Reliability and validity testing

Of the included studies, seven applied either literature review, or expert panels, or empirical method to develop the item pool (Table ​ (Table2). 2 ). Adequate internal consistency defined as the alpha > 0.7 was reported in nine studies (9/15). However, in four studies, poor internal consistency (α < 0.70) was seen. Two studies also did not report internal consistency. Most of the studies but three lack reporting test–retest reliability. Nine studies proved content validity. Six criteria were applied to score scales by which nine of fifteen articles were rated as medium quality, two rated as poor quality, and four rated as high quality (Table ​ (Table3 3 ).

Summary of included measures

Sexual and reproductive empowerment scale.

Sexual and Reproductive Empowerment Scale is a 23-item questionnaire developed and validated by Upadhyay et al. (2020) and aimed to assess the latent construct of sexual and reproductive empowerment among a national sample of American males and females adolescents and young adults (AYAs) aged 15–24 years. This scale contains the following domains: comfort talking with a partner (three questions); choice of partners, marriage, and children (three questions); parental support (4 questions); sexual safety (4 questions); self-love (4 questions); the sense of future (2 questions); and sexual pleasure (3 questions). The total score could range from 0 to 92. The items can be self-administered, and on average, AYAs could answer all items in less than 2 min. The baseline results demonstrated that sexual and reproductive empowerment was associated with access to sexual and reproductive health services and information, and also at 3-month follow-up was moderately associated with the use of desired contraceptive methods. In contrast to most reproductive empowerment measures, this scale can also be used among men and boys [ 11 ].

Reproductive Autonomy Scale

As a multi-dimensional scale, Reproductive Autonomy Scale (RAS) was developed and validated in the USA to measure “reproductive autonomy” among women. This scale is comprised of 14 items and three subscales. Reproductive autonomy was defined as women’s power to decide about and exercise control on issues related to using contraception, pregnancy, and childbearing. The participants were selected from the family planning and abortion facilities in the United States. Three subscales of the scales were freedom from coercion (five questions), communication (five questions), and decision-making (four questions). The study found a reverse association between freedom from coercion and communication subscales with unprotected sex [ 24 ].

Reproductive decision-making agency

Hinson et al. (2019) developed and validated the reproductive decision-making agency scale among Nepalese women aged 15–49. The 17-item scale attempts to measure women’s decision-making over reproductive behaviors in three domains, including women’s agency in using family planning methods, agency in choosing the method of family planning, and agency in choosing the time of getting pregnant. In this study, women whose husbands or other relatives rather than themselves mainly made decisions on reproductive behaviors were considered the lowest agency. In contrast, women reporting sole or joint decision makingwere categorized as the medium and high agency, respectively. The scale’s scores varied between three and nine, the higher scores representing the higher agency. This scale can be applied to assess a range of reproductive outcomes, particularly those related to reproductive control.

Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment in Sexual and Reproductive health (WGE-SRH)

WGE-SRH was developed by Moreau, Karp, et al. (2020) in three African countries, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Nigeria, to provide a cross-cultural scale. This 21-items scale attempts to assess the existence of choice and exercise of choice across the three domains related to sex, using contraception, and pregnancy. Participant’s agreement or disagreement with each item scored from 1 to 10. The results showed that women who indicated higher scores on the contraceptive choice subscale are more likely to use contraception. Moreover, higher scores on the sexual exercise scale were associated with a higher possibility of volitional sex [ 13 ].

A short-form Reproductive Coercion Scale (RCS)

This 5-item measure was derived from the Reproductive Coercion Scale (RCS) by McCauley et al. (2017). The scale was validated in two longitudinal randomized controlled trials conducted on young English- or Spanish-speaking women aged 16–29 in the USA. These five questions constructed two subscales: pregnancy coercion (three items) and condom manipulation (two items). Items include dichotomous (yes/no) answers. The short form of scale was useful in recognizing women who endorse low levels of reproduction coercion. This scale is particularly sensitive to identifying women who experience less common forms and multiple forms of reproduction coercion. Furthermore, this scale would provide a rapid assessment of reproductive coercion in clinics.

Sexual Assertiveness Scale (SAS)

SAS was developed to measure women’s understanding over the three subscales of assertiveness regarding initiation of sex, refusal of sex, and prevention of sexually transmitted disease/pregnancy (STD-P) with a regular partner. It comprises 18 items rated on a 5-point response format with anchors of 0 (Never) and 4 (Always). The higher scores on the scale, the higher sexual assertiveness is predicted. The SAS was developed and validated in a sample of young American women ages 16–29. After 6 and 12 months intervals, test–retest reliabilities were assessed [ 5 ].

Spanish version of Hurlbert Index of Sexual Assertiveness

Antos-Iglesias and Carlos Sierra (2010) adapted the Hurlbert Index of Sexual Assertiveness (Hurlbert, 1991) among the Spanish community. The psychometric analysis was conducted among 400 Spanish men and 453 women who had a partner for at least six months. The original scale was composed of 25 items, ranging from 1 (Never) to 5 (Always). The total scores were between 0 to 100. The higher scores represent the higher sexual assertiveness. The exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses identified a 19-item structure with two correlated factors (Initiation and No shyness/Refusal). Six items from the original version were eliminated. Finally, the Spanish version showed satisfactory psychometric characteristics [ 32 ].

Sexual Assertiveness Questionnaire (SAQ)

SAQ was derived from the Sexual Assertiveness Scale (Morokoff and colleagues, 1997) by Loshek and Terrell (2014) to provide a scale that does not include the condom insistence. The underlying hypothesis was although the sexual assertiveness scale encompasses condom insistence, it might not be administered to women at all life stages or in various kinds of relationships. The final scale comprises 18 items and three subscales, including the ability to initiate and communicate across desired sex, the ability to refuse unwanted sex, and the ability to talk about sexual history and risk. Response choices included a 7-point scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). The results demonstrate satisfactory psychometric properties [ 26 ].

Sexual Pressure Scale (SPS)

This 19-items scale aimed to measure gender-stereotypical expectations engaging in sexual behaviors. This study hypothesized that sexual pressure is associated with HIV sexual risk behavior. Scale composed of five factors: Condom Fear, Sexual Coercion, Women’s Sex Role, Men Expect Sex, and Show Trust. Higher sexual pressure was identified through a higher score. The SPS can be used to assess to what extent adherence to gender-stereotypical expectations may limit women’s sexual choices and lead to adverse consequences, such as being less assertive in communicating their desire to reduce risk and being more likely to be engaged in sex with men who are at the higher risk of HIV [ 7 ].

Sexual Pressure Scale for Women-Revised (SPSW-R)

Jones and Gulick (2009) revised the sexual pressure scale (Jones, 2006) to improve its reliability. The study was carried out on a sample of young adult urban women. The reliability and confirmatory factor analysis using structural equation modeling resulted in 18 items with higher reliability than the original scale. After eliminating the Condom Fear factor, a 4-factor model encompassing Show trust, Women’s sex role, Men expect sex, and Sexual coercion was remained [ 8 ].

Sexual Relationship Power Scale (SRPS)

This measure was designed by Pulerwitz et al. (2000) to address interpersonal power in sexual decision-making. SRPS consists of 23 items and two subscales, Relationship Control (RC) and Decision-Making Dominance (DM). RC subscale encompasses fifteen,and DM is composed of eight questions. The totalscore was ranged from 8 to 24. Lower scores on SRPS were associated with higher physical violence and lower consistent use of a condom [ 6 ].

Sexual Relationship Power Scale (SRPS) among adolescent girls and young women (AGYW)

This scale was derived from the Relationship Control subscale of the SRPS and then validated among AGYW who were at the risk of HIV in Kenya. The original subscale consisted of 15 items. A modified scale was extracted after removing three items related to condom use, resulting in 12 items in total. Participants were asked to express to what extent they agree or disagree with each item on a 4-point Likert scale. The results showed that AGYW with higher relationship power were less likely to experience sexual violence and more likely to use a condom and have knowledge of partner’s HIV status [ 29 ].

Sexual Relationship Power equity (SRP equity)

SRP equity is a South African adaptation of the Sexual Relationship Power, originally developed by Pulerwitz et al. in 2000 [ 6 ]. Over the community-based cohorts, 235 young men and women aged 16–24 years completed this questionnaire. Follow-up study performed six months later. The original SRPS consists of 13 questions. Participants answered on a 4-point Likert scale for each item, ranging from (‘strongly agree’ to ‘strongly disagree’). Higher scores representing greater equity in sexual relationship power. Finally, a 8-item scale for women and a 9-item scale for men were constructed. SRP equity was associated with higher education and no recent partner violence [ 30 ].

Women Autonomy Measurement Scale

This scale was developed by Bhandari et al. (2014) to provide a validated scale for measuring Nepalese women’s autonomy as one of the predictors of using maternal health care services. The 23 items were answered on a 3-point scale anchored with zero (not necessary), one (useful not essential), and two (essential). Three subscales, including decision-making autonomy, financial autonomy, and freedom of movement, constitute the scale. The Autonomy Measurement Scale showed appropriate psychometric characteristics and introduced a valid and standard scale for assessing women’s autonomy in developing countries [ 27 ].

Women’s Empowerment on Demographic and Health Surveys: indicators for health dimension

Using Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) from nineteen countries in four African regions, a scale composed of 26 indicators was developed to assess different dimensions of women empowerment, including economic, socio-cultural, education, and health. Access to healthcare composes distance, money, and permission. For instance, items such as: whether women have the “access” or “financial constraints” to make beneficial health choices were included. If women reported difficulties accessing healthcare services, they were assigned a 0 score; otherwise, women were scored 1. This scale provided region-specific indicators of women empowerment in Sub-Saharan Africa [ 31 ].

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first review that systematically appraised and summarized the measurement properties of validated women empowerment scales in sexual and reproductive health and also assessed the methodological quality of the included studies. The study results contributed to present a comprehensive picture of the main developments in women reproductive empowermentmeasuresments. Although women empowerment is a broad concept with various domains at different levels, few validated scales exist to measure them. Some domains such as decision-making, freedom of coercion, and communication with a partner were measured more often, whereas others got less attention. It is possibly because most studies concentrated on the individual agency and agency within intimate partnerships (i.e., immediate relational agency). Various domains assessed in the included studies may represent the complex and multi-faceted nature of women empowerment [ 23 ]. On the other hand, distant agency focusing on structural empowerment received less attention. Only one study evaluated women's empowerment at the structural level [ 31 ]. In this study, Asaolu et al. (2018) investigated healthcare access as a significant contributor to women’s empowerment. The healthcare domain included three variables of distance, money, and permission [ 31 ]. They hypothesized that social norms hindering women from going out without somebody’s companionship, financial constraints, farther distance, poor road conditions, or unreliable/no transportation could influence women’s access to healthcare [ 31 ]. Women empowerment is a multi-level concept, and social and structural obstacles hinder many women from exercising agency beyond the barriers they face in their marriages or families. Researchers highlighted the importance of embedding the macro-level factors in the definition and measurement of women empowerment [ 33 ]. Many factors at the various intrapersonal, interpersonal, and ecological levels determine the degree that a woman is empowered [ 33 ]. Social, economic, and cultural systems that operate at the uppermost level play an essential role in shaping the parameters of empowerment in specific contexts. For instance, availability and accessibility of health services, women’s position in the society, the level of power that women can impose in their relationships with their male partners, and cultural expectations of women, effectively influence women empowerment regardless of their individual or household characteristics. Thus, designing scales to measure these structural factors is crucial to understanding reproductive empowerment [ 3 ].

All included studies except one used standardized measures that can be applied in other contexts. Comparing women empowerment across the countries would be possible through standardized scales such as autonomy, decision-making, and communication with a partner [ 34 ]. Although standards measures are more likely to compare various populations in different cultures, context-specific scales can provide opportunities to reflect women’s lived experiences in contexts in which they live and also allow us to compare the status of their empowerment with peers [ 35 ]. In studies that adapted a scale in the new context, some items were removed or substituted by others, indicating the contextual spirit of women empowerment and this fact that dominant beliefs, practices, and values can influence women empowerment. So, probably factors constituting the women empowerment are not similar in different contexts [ 36 , 37 ]. However, exploring how women in other countries experience empowerment is possible through adapting the existing scales in other contexts to compare women’s situations across the countries.

Sexual Relationship Power Scale and sexual assertiveness scale were most examined as three studies used each of these scales. All included studies focused on women and girls who were in a sexual relationship. Although this enables using scales that measure household, family-in-law, and financial issues of family and capturing the power balance between girls and women and their sexual partners, none of the studies address the never-married women highlighting a gap in developing suitable scales for assessing girls, singles, widows and never-married women. Some studies included men, providing a comparison between women and men's attitudes over women empowerment.

It should be mentioned that all included studies were based on cross-sectional data, limiting the assessment of temporal ordering. A significant concept of women empowerment is the process, emphasizing the changes from one state to another over time [ 10 ]. Women’s levels of power can transform over time [ 28 ]. Thus, considering changes in the state of women empowerment over time is vital.

Assessing the scales' quality showed that content validity, construct validity, and internal consistency were the most common properties evaluated. Just three studies assessed test–retest reliability. Consequently, their stability to apply to other contexts is doubtful. Rigorous psychometric assessment of the scales is vital. Because poor validity and reliability can endanger the risk of correct evaluation and diagnosis of scales, consequently leading to misinterpretation and inaccurate research findings [ 38 ]. In this review, most of the studies achieved moderate or high quality, indicating the appropriate methodology. It appears that the geographic distribution of validated scales is limited to the USA and some African countries. The lack of administration of these scales across various contexts could lead to inadequate external validity [ 39 ].

These findings give insights to develop new scales covering more domains of women reproductive empowerment or validate the currently available measurements in various settings on diverse samples.


This systematic review's main focus was finding quantitative measures of women empowerment in sexual and reproductive health, so studies that characterize scales and domains without reporting the development and psychometric analysis were not included. Another limitation of this study is publication bias as the inclusion criteria just considered peer-reviewed articles and excluded gray literature, non-peer-reviewed reports, books, and dissertations. Additionally, including only articles in English may lead to language bias.

Some dimensions, namely the structural dimension of women empowerment, are being ignored in the existing scales. Including the diverse populations and samples to develop and refine women empowerment’s measurements would facilitate measuring variations in the contexts in which reproductive empowerment is evolved. This study highlighted the necessity of designing and developing comprehensive measures to address the various dimensions of women reproductive empowerment at different levels and in diverse contexts.


This article is a part of the PhD thesis of the first author supported and granted by Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

Authors' contributions

MV: study design, writing draft of study, performing the initial search, writing manuscript. SM: supervision of study, interpretation of the results, draft revision, editing and approving the final version of the manuscript. ZBM: supervision of study, responsible for receiving the fund and ethical code, conceptualization of study. AZ: involving in assessing full texts of studies, interpretation of the results, draft revision. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Availability of data and materials


This study is approved by the Ethics Committee of Tehran University of Medical Sciences with the ethics code: IR.TUMS.FNM.REC.1397.214.

Not applicable.

The authors declared no competing interests regarding authorship and publication of this article.

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Contributor Information

Maryam Vizheh, Email: moc.oohay@hehzivmayram .

Salut Muhidin, Email: [email protected] .

Zahra Behboodi Moghadam, Email: .

Armin Zareiyan, Email: [email protected] .

UN Women Strategic Plan 2022-2025

Op-ed: Building women’s resilience to climate-driven poverty and food insecurity

Climate change means millions more women and girls risk having insufficient food and resources to meet their basic needs. as women bear the brunt of climate impacts, so they must have equity in decision-making on climate solutions..

  • Share to Facebook
  • Share to Twitter
  • Share to LinkedIn
  • Share to E-mail

Climate change and its deluge of devastation, in the form of epic floods, droughts, wildfires, and temperature changes, is no longer a tale of some hypothetical apocalyptic future. Between 2000 and 2019, according to UN Women’s  gendered analysis of the impact of climate change on poverty, productivity, and food insecurity , global flooding caused USD 650 billion in economic losses, affecting 1.7 billion people and resulting in more than 100,000 deaths. Meanwhile, severe dry spells are becoming more frequent and prolonged. Recent projections show that the number of drought days could increase by more than 20 per cent in most of the world by 2080.

A women’s farming cooperative in the township of Yoko, Cameroon, a beneficiary of UN Women’s Gender Road Project. UN Women estimates that, in sub-Saharan Africa, climate change could increase the number of women in poverty by as many as 93 million, and the numbers suffering food insecurity by 105 million, by 2050. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown.

Bearing the brunt

Women and girls from impoverished and marginalized communities bear the brunt of these devastating climate impacts. A study conducted by UN Women on why climate change matters for women  found that women living in arid areas or in areas that experienced frequent and severe droughts were more likely to experience child marriage, adolescent births, and hardship associated with collecting water and cooking with unclean fuels. For them, these climate hazards are not mere inconveniences but existential threats to life, livelihoods, and hopes for a better future.

As climate change intensifies, women’s health and well-being are increasingly threatened. According to  UN Women’s estimates , in a worst-case climate scenario, by 2050 as many as 158 million women and girls may be pushed into extreme poverty as a direct result of sustained increases in global temperatures. Food insecurity caused by climate change is also projected to increase by as much as 236 million more women and girls. Sub-Saharan Africa, with a projected increase in female poverty of 93 million and an increase in female food insecurity of 105 million, is anticipated to be among the regions most impacted. The second largest spikes in absolute numbers of female poverty and food insecurity are projected to take place in Central and Southern Asia. There, under a worst-case scenario, 29 million more females will be pushed into poverty and 57 million more into food insecurity by 2050.

Yet, amid this bleak picture, there is a glimmer of hope. Indigenous communities, the guardians of our planet’s most pristine landscapes, have long called for a different approach to development. They advocate for a path that values and protects nature as an equal to us, its human inhabitants. In many countries, laws are evolving to protect the environment and all beings that depend on it. In India, for example, the courts increasingly recognize natural resources like  glaciers, rivers, and mountains as entities needing protection  and, as a result, have granted them personhood status under the law. Other countries, including Bangladesh, Colombia, Panama, and Uganda, as well as other communities and local governments, are enacting similar laws with a focus not only on the “rights of nature” but also on the duties and obligations of humans to protect it. Women at the forefront of these efforts, as it turns out, not only have the most to lose but are also the most active in the collective efforts to combat climate change.

Enhancing women’s role in conservation efforts

As women and men engage with the environment differently, they also play differentiated roles in environmental conservation and degradation. For instance, according to a 2022  national survey on gender and the environment in Tonga , men were more likely than women to apply pesticides when performing agriculture (67 per cent versus 43 per cent). Men (18 per cent), more so than women (6 per cent), also said they were applying more pesticides to cope with climate change. Interestingly, even when women apply pesticides, they are more likely to adhere to label directions to mitigate risks and to use organic sources of nutrients instead of fertilizers.

Gender differences are also evident in forestry or fishing activities, where conservation measures are few and far between. Fewer than one in three people use sustainable forest management practices in Tonga, and men (22 per cent) say that they are more likely than women (16 per cent) to replant and repopulate. This is a finding that needs more exploration, but it might be tied to women having less capital, land rights, or the financial capacity to put money back into their land holdings. The Tonga survey highlights the importance of delving deeper into how gender norms can impact environmental behaviours and coping strategies. These insights are vital for implementing effective and practical solutions to the climate and biodiversity crises.

Managing fisheries, forests, land, and other natural resources sustainably is essential to halt biodiversity loss and the effects of climate change on women’s and men’s health and livelihoods. Still, women are often underrepresented in environmental decision-making. Globally, only  15 per cent of women engage in climate related ministries , 18 per cent in forests, and 11 per cent in water and irrigation ministries. Locally, in many countries, their representation is even lower. Inequality in land rights and land ownership, in many places a precondition for having a say in resource management, is also relevant.  Women globally own a mere 14 per cent of agricultural land  and, in many countries, their access is being further undermined by environmental degradation and land grabbing.

Understanding gender differences regarding the environment and guaranteeing the rights of women and girls are essential stepping-stones toward protecting our planet. Women, in all their diversity, must have equal access to environment-related decision-making for solutions to be inclusive and durable. Data and research on climate change and environmental conservation must mainstream gender, capturing both the gendered effects of the changing climate, particularly among those furthest behind, and the differentiated role of women and men in environmental conservation and degradation. To this end, improving the production and use of statistics on the gender–environment nexus is critical to tackle the triple planetary crisis effectively. Informed decisions must be made to invest in gender-responsive climate mitigation and adaptation and build a more resilient future.

  • 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
  • Climate change
  • Food security
  • Gender data production and collection
  • Macroeconomic policies
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Environmental protection
  • Economic empowerment
  • Gender statistics

Related content

An overhead view of the San Luis estuary in Tumaco, Colombia shows members of of the organization ACOPI Nariño, a partner of the 'Raices' initiative, working to restore the Mangrove forest by planting seedlings and removing waste.

In the Pacific coast of Colombia, guardians of the mangrove sow seeds of change

Women working at Zu Peshawar BRT, a “bus rapid transit” system in Peshawar, Pakistan. The organization is an equal opportunity employer. Photo: ADB/Rahim Mizra.

Op-ed: Improving women’s access to decent jobs

UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous delivers closing remarks to the 68th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, UN headquarters, 27 March 2024. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown.

Speech: Gender equality – just, prudent, and essential for everything we all aspire to no longer supports Internet Explorer.

To browse and the wider internet faster and more securely, please take a few seconds to  upgrade your browser .

Enter the email address you signed up with and we'll email you a reset link.

  • We're Hiring!
  • Help Center

paper cover thumbnail

Research proposal: (A proposal submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of BS) WOMEN HIGHER EDUCATION AND THEIR EMPOWERMENT IN FAMILY Supervised By

Profile image of aftab ahmad

Related Papers

research proposal on women empowerment

khuram bukhari

Bakhtawar Chandio

Willy Oppenheim

William Lee

Naureen Durrani , Anjum Halai

A B S T R A C T This paper analyses the role of national level reforms in the school curriculum and initial teacher education in gender justice in conflict-affected Pakistan, using a multidisciplinary framework applied to multiple data sets from selected teacher education institutions in Sindh. The school curriculum texts analysed potentially perpetuate gender injustice and foster conflict. While teacher education reforms offer the potential for transformative gender justice, gender remains peripheral in initial teacher education curriculum. Furthermore, institutional practices entrench gendered norms. Lecturers' and teachers' limited understanding of their role and capacity for transformative gender justice pose challenges to education for gender justice, social cohesion and conflict mi-tigation. Informed by our understanding of gender as a social construct, multiple strategies within and beyond education are offered towards transformative gender justice.

Waqar Sherpao

Mehvish Pervez


Zeenia Shaukat

Muhammad Noman

Workshop Paper

Zakir Hussain Zakir

Dr.Zamurrad Awan

International Journal of Human Resource Studies

saima afzal

Naureen Durrani

Jamila Razzaq

Hira A Siddiqi

Baseline Study: State of girls'education in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Zubair Torwali

International Journal of Social Welfare

Dr. Aamir Jamal

khaliq naeem

Faheem Khan


Anna-Maria Walter

Hadaitullah Baqri

Ahmed Hasan

Aamir Saleem

Rafiq Jaffer

Javed Kaiser

Tribhuvan University, CERID

Madhusudan Subedi

rab nawaz Nawaz

sardar said zaboor

Vilma Seeberg , Heidi Ross

Farhatullah khan

Catherine Nolin , Md Abdur Rashid

Dr. Sehrish Qayyum

Dian Fikriani

vinod singh

Christina Kwauk

Rural Society

adjei emmanuel

Public Health

James A Green

GHS Dhibba Karsial

  •   We're Hiring!
  •   Help Center
  • Find new research papers in:
  • Health Sciences
  • Earth Sciences
  • Cognitive Science
  • Mathematics
  • Computer Science
  • Academia ©2024
  • UN Women HQ

Call for proposals for the implementation of UNW BCO BWP24-25

With a view to implementing its Strategic Note 2024-2027 through its Biannual Work Plan 2024-2025 and building on its organizational values, UN Women would like to identify implementing partner organizations/institutions and build a database, and to this end invites any organization/institution qualified in the above fields to submit its proposal for a potential local partnership for the operational implementation of its Biannual Work Plan 2024-2025.

Contact information

  • Contact person: Leonard Ndikiminwe
  • Email: leonard.ndikiminwe[at]
  • Telephone: +257 76 215 333

Latest news

  • About UN Women
  • Executive Director
  • Regional Director for East and Southern Africa
  • Regional Director for West and Central Africa
  • Announcements
  • Guiding documents
  • Report wrongdoing
  • Procurement
  • Regional and country offices
  • Gender Data Repository
  • UN Women in Action
  • Enabling Environment
  • Production of Quality Gender Data
  • Uptake and Use
  • Leadership and political participation
  • Climate-Smart Agriculture
  • Empowering Women in Trade
  • Recognising, Reducing and Redistributing Unpaid Care Work in Senegal
  • Regional Sharefair on the Care Economy
  • The Gender Pay Gap Report
  • Unpaid Care
  • Women in the green economy
  • Intergovernmental support
  • Africa Shared Research Agenda
  • UN system coordination
  • Peace and security
  • Governance and national planning
  • Policy and advisory support
  • Youth Engagement
  • Women’s Leadership, Access, Empowerment and Protection (LEAP)
  • Programme implementation
  • Representative
  • South Sudan
  • UN Women Representative In Sudan
  • African Girls Can Code Initiative (AGCCI)
  • African Women Leaders Network (AWLN)
  • Spotlight Initiative
  • Special Representative to the AU and UNECA
  • Partnerships
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Guinea Bissau
  • Republic of Guinea
  • Siera Leone
  • In focus: International Women's Day 2024
  • 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence Campaign 2023
  • UN Women at Women Deliver 2023
  • In focus: 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence 2022
  • In Focus: World Humanitarian Day
  • International Day of Rural Women 2022
  • International Youth Day 2022
  • International Women’s Day 2023
  • International Day of Rural Women
  • 76th Session of the UN General Assembly
  • Generation Equality Forum in Paris
  • Gender equality matters in COVID-19 response
  • International Youth Day
  • Media contacts
  • Publications
  • Gender Journalism Awards
  • About Generation Equality
  • Generation Equality Forum
  • Action packs
  • 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence

Content Search

Request for proposal - gender equality, social inclusion, and environmental analysis consultancy - rfp\jor\2024\501.

  • World University Service of Canada

You can download the soft copy of the RFP following this link on Google Drive: (Full copy)



WUSC invites proposals for the following « Gender Equality, Social Inclusion, and Environmental Analysis Consultancy » services:

« PR\JOR\2024\501 »

Closing date for receipt of proposals will be « 05/05/2024 » at« 16:00 Amman Local time » –

All Submissions must be electronically submitted to jordan procurement email address

[email protected]

For further information, contact WUSC through « [email protected]»


1. Description of the Procurement 2

2. Eligibility and Qualification of Bidders 2

3. Language of the Proposal 2

4. Documents included in the Proposal 2

5. Clarification and Amendment 3

6. Modification and Withdrawal 3

7. Payment and Currency 4

8. Format , signing and submission of Proposals 4

9. Deadline for Submission of Bids 4

10. Bid Opening 4

11. Evaluation of Technical Proposals 4

12. Evaluation of Financial Proposals 5

13. Confidentiality 6

14. Notification of Award 6

15. Award of Contract 6

16. Signing of Contract and Performance Security 7

17. Settlement of Disputes 7

18. Compliances 7

Annex 1: Terms Of Reference (TOR) 8


  • Description of the Procurement

WUSC intends to procure a Gender Equality, Social Inclusion, and Environmental Analysis Consultancy as per the Terms of Reference attached in Annex 1.

  • In order to be awarded the contract, bidders should possess the financial, economic, technical and professional capacity to perform the contract. Bidders should fulfill their tax and social insurance liabilities in the country and should not currently be subject to a debarment penalty.
  • Bidders must adhere to the highest ethical standards, both throughout the bidding process and execution of the contract.
  • WUSC has a zero tolerance for unethical behavior/corrupt practices including:
  • Bribery: the act of unduly offering, giving, receiving or soliciting anything of value to influence the procurement process;
  • Extortion or coercion: the act of attempting to influence the process of procuring goods or services, or executing contracts by means of threats of injury to person, property or reputation;
  • Fraud: misrepresentation of information or facts for the purpose of influencing the procurement process;
  • Collusion: an agreement between bidders designed to result in bids at artificial prices that are not competitive;
  • Guilt of misrepresentation in supplying the information required by the contracting authority as a condition of participation in the contract procedure or failing to supply this information;
  • Anti-terrorism: support of any terrorist or terrorist group as defined by donors;
  • Other civil, criminal acts or otherwise illegal activity which would be detrimental to the financial interests of WUSC
  • WUSC may declare the consultancy firms, their boards of directors and/or individual personnel ineligible to register with the organization either indefinitely or for a stated period of time.
  • WUSC will reject a proposal if it establishes that the bidder recommended for award has engaged in corrupt, fraudulent, collusive or coercive practices in competing for the contract.
  • Freelance consultants are eligible for this RFP.
  • Languageof the Proposal

The Proposal as well as all correspondence and documents related to the proposal shall be written in English Language.

  • Documents included in the Proposal

The proposal will be prepared, submitted and evaluated in two parts as follows:

  • Technical Proposal Format and Content

The Technical Proposal shall be prepared using the format provided below and shall comprise the documents listed**.** The Technical Proposal shall not include any financial information. A Technical Proposal containing material financial information shall be declared non-responsive.

Section 1 (In case of an open tender where the suppliers are not known to WUSC; the following documents should be requested) for eligibility and compliance check/evaluation

  • Covering letter on firms headed paper giving complete details including email addresses, telephone contacts, office location.(Where applicable; not required for freelance bidders).
  • Copy of Certificate of incorporation/registration (Commercial registration) Where applicable; not required for freelance bidders.
  • Valid Tax compliance certificate (where applicable)
  • Copy of Current Trading License (Vocational license) Where applicable; not required for freelance bidders.

Failure to submit the documents requested in section 1 will lead to rejection of the proposal.

  • Financial Proposal Format and Content

The Financial Proposal shall be prepared in the format below and it shall list all costs associated with the assignment, including (a) remuneration for Key Experts and Non-Key Experts, (b) reimbursable expenses as follows:

  • Summary of Costs
  • Breakdown of Remuneration of the key experts proposed
  • Reimbursable expenses if any

4.2.1 The prices given in the financial proposal must include all taxes and duties in accordance with the laws of the country.

4.2.2 The price offered must remain fixed during the contract performance.

4.2.3 The bid price must be in the requested Currency, which is Jordanian Dinar (JOD).

  • Clarification and Amendment

WUSC will, within 5 working days, respond in writing or electronic mail to any request clarification received in writing or electronic mail no later than 7 days before expiry of the deadline for submission of the bid. The response will be distributed to all bidders without identifying the source of the request. All enquiries should be written to WUSC through ([email protected]) .

  • The bidder may submit a modified bid or a modification to any part of it at any time prior to the proposal submission deadline. The bidder’s withdrawal notice must be marked as “Modification”. No modifications to the bid shall be accepted after the deadline.
  • The bidder may submit a bid withdrawal notice to any part of it at any time prior to the proposal submission deadline. The bidder’s withdrawal notice must be marked as “Withdrawal”. No withdrawals to the bid shall be accepted after the deadline.
  • Payment under the Contract shall be made in the currency or currencies in the bid which is (JOD)
  • Payment will be made within 30 days upon submission of invoice and satisfactory receipt of goods.
  • An authorized representative of the bidder shall sign the original submission letters in the required format as one original.
  • The original Technical Proposal shall be clearly marked “TECHNICAL PROPOSAL” Title of the attachment.
  • The original Financial Proposal shall be clearly marked “FINANCIAL PROPOSAL” Title of attachment. Note (Note : Technical and financial proposals must be submitted in one email with separate attachments).
  • Deadlinefor Submission of Bids

The proposals must be submitted through the email with the subject (Gender Equality, Social Inclusion, and Environmental Analysis Consultancy )- RFP reference number, must be received by WUSC by 0 5 May 2024 16:00 Amman local time*.* Bids received after this date will be rejected.

Proposals submitted must be valid for 90 days from the bid submission date.

  • WUSC evaluation committee shall conduct the opening of the proposals immediately after the bid submission time.The opening date will be May 07, 2024.
  • At the opening of the proposals, only the Technical proposal shall be opened while Financial Proposal shall remain at the procurement department and shall be securely stored. bids the following shall be read out: (i) the name and the country of the bidder (ii) any modifications to the bid submitted prior to proposal submission deadline; (iii) any other information deemed appropriate. This information will be filled in the bid opening form.
  • The evaluators of the Technical Proposals shall have no access to the Financial Proposals until the technical evaluation is concluded.
  • The tender committee shall evaluate the Technical Proposals on the basis of their responsiveness to the Terms of Reference and the RFP, applying the evaluation criteria, sub-criteria, and point system specified below. Each responsive Proposal will be given a technical score.

A Proposal shall be rejected at this stage if it does not respond to important aspects of the RFP or if it fails to achieve the minimum technical score.

During evaluation of bids, WUSC may request the bidder, in writing using mailing address or email address, to provide clarification of his bid. No change in price or substance of the bid shall be sought, offered or permitted.

Proposal Evaluation Criteria

Criteria, sub-criteria, and point system for the evaluation of the Technical Proposals:

  • Technical (which includes; Relevance of education and experience, Experience in conducting similar studies and researches, understanding environmental and climate issues, Knowledge and understanding of Canada’s FIAP policy, technical knowledge related to paid and unpaid care work, experience in applying systems and market systems analysis approaches to women’s economic empowerment programs.(70 points)
  • Financial Proposal (30 points)

Total points for the four criteria ***:*** 100

The minimum technical score (St) required to pass is: 65

The minimum Overall score 70

  • The Financial Proposals of the bidders who attain the minimum technical scores are opened and the summary of cost prices read out and recorded in the bid opening form by the tender committee. All other Financial Proposals are returned unopened after the Contract negotiations are successfully concluded and the Contract is signed.
  • Arithmetical errors will be rectified in the following manner. If there is a discrepancy between the unit price and the total price, obtained in multiplying the unit price by quantity, the unit price will prevail. If there is a discrepancy between the words and figures, the amount in words shall prevail. If the bidder disagrees with such his bid will be rejected.

The lowest evaluated Financial Proposal (Fm) is given the maximum financial score (Sf) of 100.

The formula for determining the financial scores (Sf) of all other Proposals is calculated as following:

Sf = 100 x Fm/ F, in which “Sf” is the financial score, “Fm” is the lowest price, and “F” the price of the proposal under consideration.

[or replace with another inversely proportional formula acceptable to the WUSC]

The weights given to the Technical (T) and Financial (P) Proposals are :

T = [70], and

P = _______[30]

Proposals are ranked according to their combined technical (St) and financial (Sf) scores using the weights (T = the weight given to the Technical Proposal; P = the weight given to the Financial Proposal; T + P = 1) as following: S = St x T% + Sf x P%.

  • No bidder will contact WUSC on any matter related to his bid except for requests related to clarifications of the bid. Information concerning procurement process and evaluation of bids is confidential. Any clarification related to the selection process, shall be done only in writing.
  • Any attempt by the bidder to influence improperly WUSC officials in the evaluation of the bid or Contract award decisions may result in the rejection of its bid, and may be subject to the application of prevailing WUSC’s debarment procedures.
  • The Consultant with the Most Advantageous Proposal, which is the Proposal that achieves the highest combined technical and financial scores, will be notified of award of contract by WUSC in writing.
  • At the same time WUSC notifies the successful bidder, WUSC will notify all other unsuccessful bidders and provide a debrief where one is sought in writing within 5 days.
  • The notice of acceptance will be given by the successful bidder within 7 days of the notification of award.
  • WUSC will award the contract to the bidder whose bid is determined to be substantially responsive and who offered the best evaluated bid.
  • WUSC reserves the right to accept or reject any bid or all bids and to cancel the bidding process at any time prior to award of the contract without thereby incurring any liability to bidders without being required to inform the bidders of reasons for such actions.
  • WUSC will send the successful bidder the Contract. The bidder will sign and date the contract and return to WUSC within 14 days of receipt of the notice of award.
  • Together with the signed Contract, the bidder will furnish WUSC with a Performance Security, if required to do so.
  • If the successful bidder fails to submit the performance security, if required to do so, within 14 days, then it shall be sufficient grounds to revoke the award of the contract. In this case, WUSC will award the contract to the next bidder.
  • A performance security may be required in cases where the supplier is given an advance payment. Performance Security must be in the form of a Bank Guarantee or a bond from an Insurance Company licensed by the Bank.
  • Settlement of Disputes

Disputes that may arise during the performance of the Contract shall be settled in accordance with the laws of the country, by arbitration or mutual agreement between the parties.

  • Compliances

Bidders must submit valid certificates of compliances from the relevant bodies as requested.

Annex 1: Terms Of Reference (TOR)

Call for Consultant(s): Burden of Childcare Reduced and Addressed for Women in Jordan (BUCRA) Project

Gender Equality, Social Inclusion, and Environmental Analysis Consultant

Terms of Reference

Amman, Zarqa, Madaba,Irbid, Ajloun, Ma’an, and Karak

Duration of Contract

BUCRA team with technical assistance from the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Advisor

Application Deadline

05 May 2024

Expected Start Date

12 May 2024

World University Service of Canada (WUSC) is a leading Canadian international development organization focusing on three programmatic areas: Economic Opportunities, Education, and Empowerment. Our vision is a better world for all young people. It is a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable world in which all young people, especially women, and refugees, are empowered to secure a good quality of life for themselves, their families, and their communities.

WUSC currently works in over 25 countries across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America, with an annual budget of approximately CAD 50 million. Globally, we partner with a network of higher education institutions, civil society organizations, private sector partners, professionals, students, volunteers, faculty, and community leaders who help us achieve our mission.


The Burden of Childcare Reduced and Addressed (BUCRA) project for Women in Jordan (BUCRA - meaning Tomorrow in Arabic) is a five-year collaborative initiative from 2024 to 2029, funded by Global Affairs Canada that aims to enhance economic empowerment for women in Jordan (ultimate outcome). BUCRA takes a systems approach, engaging and supporting local stakeholders from government, training bodies, the private sector, and communities to drive gender-transformative change and address the most pressing childcare issues preventing women from participating in the workforce. BUCRA targets over 8,600 women in 7 regions in Jordan, including Amman, Irbid, Zarqa, Madaba, Ajloun, Maan, and Karak. This approach of equipping key stakeholders to address systemic barriers will enable the impacts to be experienced by women throughout Jordan over the long term.

BUCRA aligns with national and international policies and structures to address these multi-dimensional economic challenges facing women in Jordan. It builds on the success and lessons learned of WUSC’s Women’s Economic Linkages and Employment Development (WE-LEAD) project, funded by Global Affairs Canada, supporting women through increased access to accredited early childhood care and development (ECCD) vocational training and employment opportunities. By engaging and supporting systemic change among training providers, business and financial services providers, policymakers, ECCD employers, and other stakeholders, BUCRA will enhance women’s equitable access to fair and decent employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in the ECCD sector in Jordan. BUCRA will also address gendered social norms and work to improve communities’ attitudes and perceptions about women's work and ECCD services to free more women to enter the workforce in Jordan. Relevance and impact will be optimized through approaches that ensure the needs and voices of the intended women beneficiaries drive the change.

Childcare impedes women’s equitable workforce participation and economic empowerment in Jordan. Women’s heavy and unequal childcare responsibilities limit their capacity to pursue decent employment or other roles in public life. Limited availability of quality, affordable, inclusive ECCD services, or perceptions thereof, limit the uptake of ECCD services that can free women to pursue economic opportunities in Jordan. Lack of formalization of the ECCD sector impacts quality, reinforces harmful perceptions about ECCD, limits demand, and reduces the sector’s potential as an area of economic opportunity for women.

Women working in the sector face low pay, limited social protection, and capacity to exercise their workplace rights. Gendered social norms dictate that women’s rightful place is caring for children rather than pursuing economic opportunities and reinforce harmful attitudes about ECCD services. BUCRA will enable transformative changes that address these barriers, especially for the most disadvantaged women caring for children in this context, including women caring for children with disabilities, women from rural and low-income areas, and refugee women in Jordan.

Key indicators of success include (i) an increased number of qualified childcare professionals throughout the country with skills relevant to the market and sector needs, (ii) the emergence and percentage growth of childcare businesses offering quality and inclusive childcare to families, and fair and decent employment for women, (iii) increased numbers of employers offering viable and inclusive childcare options for employees (iv) increased use of and satisfaction with childcare services among families, (v) increased numbers of women with fair and decent employment in the childcare sector, and (vi) changes in social norms expectations around women’s participation in the labor market and regarding families making use of childcare services including for children living with disabilities.

This initiative is grounded in the assumptions that:

  • Increasing the quality, availability, and accessibility of childcare training will lead to more high-quality and accessible childcare services becoming available to Jordanian families, including families with children with disabilities.
  • Engaging and supporting employers to make quality, inclusive childcare more accessible to their employees will lead to greater take-up of childcare services and increased demand.
  • Women are interested in working in childcare, and interventions that support access to related training and fair and decent employment opportunities—including in home-based businesses—can play an essential role in connecting them to this work and will also positively impact the quality and availability of childcare.
  • Challenging gendered social norms that act as barriers to women’s economic participation and families’ take-up of childcare increases parent engagement in childcare services to bolster trust, addressing the related stigma associated with children with disabilities and highlighting the broad-ranging benefits of childcare and women’s employment to the household, will encourage more Jordanian families to use childcare services, and free women to pursue other activities.
  • Addressing these interconnected issues will lead to more women being employed and, ultimately, to their economic empowerment.

BUCRA is a collaborative initiative to be led by WUSC and delivered in partnership with several local implementing partners, including i) the National Council for Family Affairs (NCFA) working toward enhancing the environment for Jordanian families’ stability and well-being; ii) the Vocational Training Corporation (VTC) responsible for training services and vocational development in Jordan; and iii) SADAQA, a Jordanian NGO working towards an enabling and inclusive work environment for women.


The project's ultimate outcome is Ultimate Outcome 1000: Enhanced economic empowerment for women in Jordan. WUSC and partners will deliver interventions in collaboration with other key stakeholders and contribute to the ultimate outcome through the following five key outcome areas:

Intermediate Outcome 1100: Enhanced equitable access of women to employment and self-employment opportunities in the ECCD sector in target regions of Jordan

  • Training Providers: Immediate Outcome 1110: Enhanced capacity of training providers to provide quality, market-relevant, gender-transformative and inclusive ECCD training.
  • Women Childcare Providers: Immediate Outcome 1120: Increased access by women to services that help them secure ECCD employment or start-up/expand quality home-based nurseries.
  • Policy Makers: Immediate Outcome 1130: Improved capacity of key stakeholders to develop and implement gender-responsive policy and regulation, fostering the availability of quality ECCD services

Intermediate Outcome 1200: Increased use of ECCD services, particularly by women, in target regions of Jordan.

  • Community: Immediate Outcome 1210: Improved attitudes among women and their communities about women's work and ECCD
  • ECCD Employers: Immediate Outcome 1220: Enhanced capacity of employers to provide quality, gender-responsive and inclusive ECCD services

These interventions are expected to lead to gender transformative advancements in target regions by increasing the number of qualified women childcare professionals with market-relevant skills, including caring for children with disabilities. They will also lead to growth in childcare businesses offering quality and inclusive childcare and fair and decent employment for women. They will increase the use of and satisfaction with childcare services among communities in Jordan. They will lead to changes in social normative expectations around women’s participation in the labor market and families making use of childcare services, including for children living with disabilities. The interventions will be delivered in the targeted regions of Amman, Irbid, Zarqa, Madaba, Ajloun, Maan, and Karak, where several vocational training centers are already offering ECCD training programs and where NCFA has identified the need and opportunities for establishing new home-based nurseries and upskilling for women working in existing ECCD operations (both private and public).

The project aims to support additional home-based nurseries by creating more equitable and inclusive employment opportunities for women while tackling barriers related to transportation and the affordability of childcare services that limit women’s equitable participation in the workforce. Through these initiatives, WUSC is committed to positively impacting women's lives in Jordan by eliminating gender-specific barriers to women's entrance and retention in the workforce.

This project aligns with Canada’s approach to care work centered on gender equality and human rights. This project aligns with Canada's Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP), as it promotes the core action area on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, action area 2 on human dignity through education and training, and action area 3 on growth that works for everyone. As the assessments show, the project will address some of Canada’s 5Rs (recognizing, reducing, redistributing, representing, and responding) approach to care work. The project is aligned with Jordan’s international and national commitments. Jordan is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Persons with Disabilities and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The project will contribute towards SDGs 1 (no poverty), 4 (quality education), 5 (gender equality), 8 (decent work), and 10 (reducing inequality)


WUSC aims to hire a consultant to conduct a gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) and environmental analysis using secondary and primary data to inform program design and implementation.

Building on lessons learned and best practices from WUSC’s WE LEAD project implemented in Jordan and the findings of a recent GESI analysis completed at the proposal stage, this assignment aims to assess the needs, opportunities, and recommendations of women and relevant stakeholders working in the childcare economy, including home-based care nurseries, in seven targeted areas: Amman, Madaba, Zarqa, Irbid, Ajloun, Ma’an, and Karak.

The GESI analysis aims to provide essential insights into gender-based and inclusive considerations needed to ensure that women, in particular, will benefit from the project interventions. The study should, therefore, seek to examine the root causes of cultural, gendered social norms / institutional, political, and gender inequalities that are harmful to women’s access to higher quality, affordable, equitable, and inclusive childcare services, professional training opportunities, leadership and decision-making opportunities, and the constraints they face, while integrating an environmental sustainability and market systems lens.


The study proposes to consult project participants, partners, and stakeholders representing the public sector, including government officials from the NCFA, Higher Council for Persons with Disabilities, private sector micro-enterprises, home-based daycare owners, financial and business service providers, entrepreneurial ecosystem actors, environmental organizations, women's rights organizations such as SADAQA, INGOs such as the International Labor Organization (ILO), employers and decision-makers, community members (women, men, female and male youth), in addition to parents, Early Childcare Workers (ECWs), both paid and unpaid, instructors of vocational training centers, and civil society organizations in the targeted areas in Jordan.


The GESI Analysis aims to undertake a more extensive analysis utilizing primary and secondary data from the targeted locations to confirm and/or inform the design of the BUCRA project. It also aims to ensure that local women’s rights organizations, partners, nursery owners, and national stakeholders working on the care economy are co-leading in designing objectives and activities to ensure that feminist principles are adequately integrated and applied. The findings from this analysis will enable WUSC and its local partners to effectively design and implement the initiative to address the gender and human rights issues that ECWs face in a transformative, inclusive, and contextualized way. They will also help develop mitigation strategies for gender-specific risks and aid in formulating a gender equality strategy to be submitted with the project implementation plan (PIP). Additionally, the findings will ensure proper and targeted capacity strengthening for staff and partners on gender analysis, gender mainstreaming, and monitoring of gender equality results throughout the project cycle.

The study's results will also inform a GESI-integrated market systems analysis and the project's environmental sustainability approach, focusing on the intersection between the care economy and environment/climate change. The successful consultant will work closely with the project’s Environment Advisor and Market Systems Advisor to ensure that these perspectives are integrated into data collection tools and analysis as appropriate.


The gender analysis aims to accomplish the following goals;

  • To understand how gender dynamics affect or could affect the design of the BUCRA project in Jordan.
  • To understand how the BUCRA project impacts or could impact gender dynamics in Jordan.
  • To understand how the various groups are expected to benefit from the BUCRA project in Jordan.


The gender equality and social inclusion analysis will provide critical insights to inform the design and delivery of the BUCRA project interventions, contributing to the achievement of the following objectives:

  • Validate and refine the gender equality issues, gaps, inequalities, and barriers related to paid care work focusing on the work of ECWs identified during the proposal phase and recent studies by program partners that impact women’s and men’s behavior regarding gender roles/relations/power dynamics, equitable access to and control over resources such as education, training, economic opportunities, leadership, and decision-making opportunities, gender-based violence (GBV), social, cultural and gendered norms, focusing on recommendations and best practices for addressing these issues.
  • Provide an analysis of power dynamics in paid care work at the personal, household, organizational, local, or sub-national levels, document recommendations on how best to close the identified gender gaps, and consider the intersectional dimensions of inequality, discrimination, and exclusion.
  • Recommendations and best practices for addressing human rights issues related to ECWs and paid childcare work. Identify the existing human rights policies, international and national legal context, and frameworks from treaty bodies; types of human rights violations concerning paid care work and the root causes of violations; power relations and influence of key actors in the early childcare workspace (rights-holders, responsibility holders and duty bearers) in terms of labor rights, women’s rights, children’s rights including children with disabilities, and the rights of those cared for; primary responsibilities for violations at different levels; strengths and weaknesses of the affected individuals/groups/communities to address violations; and willingness and capacity of responsibility holders and duty bearers to address the problem.
  • Validate and refine gender-based constraints in paid care work and recommend key elements for ensuring that women and men living with disabilities and special needs will benefit from the project’s activities and intended outcomes.
  • Validate the rights and well-being issues and barriers of those cared for (children’s rights) and how the quality of early childcare and paid care services can be improved, particularly for children with disabilities.
  • Identify opportunities for promoting women’s economic empowerment and address barriers to women’s participation in leadership and decision-making roles, processes, and opportunities for paid care work, building on the proposal research, the WE LEAD project, and local partner knowledge and ongoing initiatives.
  • Examine and analyze who has access to and control over resources, access to services, and decision-making opportunities, and identify barriers to women’s access to those resources and services related to education and livelihood opportunities in the childcare space.
  • Identify and analyze gender-responsive models to be piloted with the ECCD providers to design and test parents' engagement approaches, accountability, and feedback mechanisms.
  • Validate gender equality risks , vulnerabilities, negative, unintended consequences of the intervention, and mitigation strategies , including but not limited to sexual and Gender-based Violence and Safeguarding issues in paid care work (see tool 7 in the FIAP toolkit for examples here ).
  • Identify and map out key actors within the paid childcare ecosystem in Jordan and analyze their incentives and capacities to help address constraints and leverage opportunities related to women’s economic empowerment.
  • The project aims to incorporate an environmental risk assessment within the GESI analysis to explore the potential environmental implications of the project (both positive and negative), considering the everyday environmental relations (subsistence work done alongside care work), the intersection between the care economy and environment/climate change and the differential impact of climate change on women and their care burden. Relevant issues to explore include a) the water scarcity issue in Jordan, b) the impact of cleaning products utilized in childcare facilities, c) the potential for integration of environment and climate sensitization into the ECCD curriculum, and d) available incentives and challenges to promote positive environmental awareness and practices.


The proposed GESI analysis framework is based on the WUSC GESI Analysis Guidance. These domains come from the USAID guidance on gender analysis and align with the FIAP (and GAC guidance on Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+), CARE's gender analysis tool (which has previously been used by WUSC), and pulls from other GESI analysis best practices. For WUSC, in alignment with our Gender, Age, and Diversity policy, we aim to take an intersectional approach that includes gender, age, and diversity, recognizing that there are many intersecting identity factors such as race, ethnicity, and mental and physical disabilities.

  • Laws, policies, regulations, and institutional practices
  • Access to and control over resources and assets
  • Gender roles, responsibilities, and time use
  • Cultural norms, social norms, and beliefs
  • Patterns of power and decision-making
  • Services, institutions, and programs

The consultant will ensure that the gender analysis framework facilitates the gathering of evidence on the context (opportunities/constraints) for women and men’s access to quality, equitable, and inclusive education and training opportunities in paid care work. Constraints, for instance, can be those emanating from their own lives, their families (general entourage/relations who have some influence over women's lives),the environmental context (subsistence work done alongside care work), or more structural barriers within the workforce that affect the opportunities of these women.

To facilitate this research process, a range of questions have been developed to guide the type of information the study should capture. These questions are only indicative; further refinement will be explored collaboratively with the consultant(s) during the inception meeting. Findings should be aligned with the FIAP objectives and core action areas. The most critical point is that the study's results provide relevant data that can inform the design and delivery of the BUCRA project, helping to meet the objectives stated above.


The study should aim to collect primary data through key informant interviews (KIIs) and focus group discussions (FGDs) informant interviews and focus group discussions (FGDs) with potential project participants (women, men, female, male youth, gender diverse individuals), partners, and stakeholders representing the public sector, including government officials from the Ministry of Social Development, the National Council of Family Affairs (NCFA), the Higher Council for the rights of Persons with Disabilities, persons from diverse groups, including persons with disabilities and refugees, private sector micro-enterprises, home-based care owners, women's rights organizations such as SADAQA, INGOs, employers and decision-makers, community members, ECWs, instructors of Vocational Training Centers, financial and business service providers, entrepreneurial ecosystem actors, environmental organizations, training providers, and civil society organizations in the targeted areas in Jordan. Collected data should be disaggregated by gender, age, and other diversity factors (where possible) when presented in the final report. Secondary data should also be collected from relevant global, regional, and national reports addressing the care economy, including home-based care. WUSC staff will provide input and feedback on the preliminary findings, recommendations, and conclusions.


  • Develop a detailed inception report and work plan in close consultation with designated WUSC staff, clarifying and refining the study's approach, methodology, and timing.
  • Refine the gender equality and social inclusion analysis guidelines and data collection tools as needed.
  • Participate in an inception meeting with WUSC staff.
  • Collect quantitative and qualitative data through reviews of secondary sources, focus group discussions, and key informant interviews.
  • Prepare the final report as documented in the deliverables below, including actionable recommendations focusing on their relevance for interventions. The final report should also include a detailed bibliography of secondary research and a complete list of participants consulted.
  • Revise the final report and recommendations following feedback from WUSC staff.


The level of effort required for this consultancy is estimated at 25 days.


  • To provide relevant documentation and respond to the Consultant's questions throughout the mandate.
  • To mobilize the necessary team to support the Consultant and designate a person responsible for this assignment.
  • To provide the Consultant with feedback and comments on the various documents produced, according to the approved writing plan.


The contract period is for 25 days in May and June 2024. Estimated contributions expected in working days will be determined in consultation with the selected candidate. The candidate will have to put in place all the necessary actions to launch the GESI analysis within the following schedule:

Signing of Contract and Inception Meeting

Submission of a detailed work plan, draft inception report, and data collection tools for WUSC review and feedback

19 May 2024

Submission of the final version of the inception report, which incorporates WUSC comments

23 May 2024

Data collection through desk review, key informant interviews & focus group discussions

04 June 2024

Submission of the draft report, including methodology, findings, and recommendations. The report should also include

  • A detailed bibliography of secondary research
  • A complete list of participants consulted

13 June 2024

Submission of the final report, including methodology, findings, recommendations, and conclusion, including WUSC comments

20 June 2024


  • The candidate should have at least 5-7 years of professional experience and a demonstrated track record of conducting gender analysis for women’s economic empowerment projects.
  • The candidate should hold a graduate degree in social sciences, gender studies, development studies, international development, or a related field.
  • The candidate should have a foundational understanding of environmental and climate issues to effectively undertake the project's environmental implications aspect of the analysis and/or include time for a dedicated consultant to support data collection/analysis related to environment and climate change and paid care.
  • Strong research and report-writing skills are essential for this consultancy.
  • Knowledge and understanding of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy and Feminist International Assistance Gender Equality Toolkit for Projects
  • Technical knowledge and experience related to paid and unpaid care work would be assets.
  • Experience in applying systems and market systems analysis approaches to women’s economic empowerment programming would be an asset.

Price and payment

Quoted price would be open to negotiations; WUSC reserves the right to choose certain items from the itemized budget submitted.

Key Milestones

Payment Percentages

Pre-bid Clarification (Q&A)

All inquiries, questions & clarification requests should be directed to the email address [email protected]

The Deadline for the Pre-bid Clarification (Q&A) is 25 April 2024 at the close of business at 16:00 Jordan time .


Interested parties are encouraged to submit an application package, including a technical and financial offer, to WUSC Jordan Procurement Email “[email protected]

WUSC’s activities seek to balance inequities and create sustainable development around the globe. The work ethic of our staff, volunteers, consultants, representatives, and partners shall correspond to the organization's values and mission. WUSC promotes responsibility, respect, honesty, and professional excellence, and we will not tolerate harassment, coercion, sexual exploitation, or abuse in any form.

Only sealed envelopes (Hard copies) will be accepted. The application submission deadline is 05 May 2024 at the close of business at 16:00 Jordan time .


Any document shared with the service provider as part of this TOR is considered part of WUSC property that cannot be distributed or used by any other agency.

All produced materials under this TOR are the property of WUSC and cannot be distributed or to be used by any agencies.

How to apply

Related content.

Jordan + 1 more

“Let it stay in the heart and injure, rather than going out and exposing me”: Unpacking cultural concepts of distress among Syrian refugees in Jordan

Jordan + 5 more

2023-2025 Operational Strategy for the Prevention, Risk Mitigation of and Response to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) GBV Working Group – Jordan

Jordan: iswg meeting note february 2024, beyond the farm: how empowering women farmers drives change in jordan and beyond.

Free Research Paper Samples, Research Proposal Examples and Tips |

Research proposal on women empowerment.

April 25, 2013 UsefulResearchPapers Research Proposals 0

Women empowerment is the process of treating women like the equal companions with the same rights and duties as men have.

Since the dawn of the human civilization women have always been treated like the lower gender and their main duty was to take care of children and household chores. Today the situation is completely different. Women work, build careers, rest the same way as men do. Nevertheless, women still suffer from numerous stereotypes and prejudices, which often affect their self esteem badly. For example, if a woman works in an office, she will not be given difficult tasks to do, because men still feel and believe in their dominance over women. In spite of it, women manage to ruin all the stereotypes and do their work perfectly well and sometimes even better than their male companions.

We Can Prepare an Original Research Proposal on ANY Topic for You!

There have been carried out a great number of investigations and observations which proved that women have a range of advantages over men in economics and business. For example, they are more scrupulous and treat every business contract seriously and think it over a lot before signing it. Women are able to avoid spontaneous decisions in the workplace and their solutions are often more effective and reasonable. Finally, a woman does not create any conflicts in the workplace, due to which a healthy working atmosphere is created.

Unfortunately, women empowerment is still a dream in many countries and parts of the world. For example, in many Asian and Islamic countries women simply can not be empowered because of the cultural peculiarities of the nation, where men are considered to be absolutely dominant.

If one want to prepare a good women empowerment research proposal, he should spend much time to investigate the key problems of the topic successfully. It is important to explain what women empowerment is and present the historical background of the problem. One should dwell on the reasons why women should be empowered and present the facts which prevent them on empowerment. Here one can focus on the cultural reasons on the example of different countries. It is important to prove why women should be empowered and convince the reader in it.

Without the persuasive side the effect of the research proposal will be extremely low. In order to create a good convincing proposal one should take advantage of the free sample research proposals on women empowerment in India. It is reasonable to read the example papers of the professional writers and borrow their writing experience and knowledge. Moreover, with the help of a free sample research proposal on women empowerment in Bangladesh one will be able to complete a good structure and format the paper correctly.

*** NOTE! As far as you know free sample research proposals and examples about Women Empowerment are 100% plagiarized!!!

At writing service you can order a custom research proposal on any topic you need . Your research paper proposal will be written from scratch. We hire top-rated Ph.D. and Master’s writers only to provide students with professional research proposal help at affordable rates. Each customer will get a non-plagiarized paper with timely delivery. Just visit our website and fill in the order form with all proposal details:

Custom Research Proposal on Women Empowerment

Similar Posts:

  • Employee Empowerment Research Proposal
  • Psychological Empowerment Research Paper
  • Research Proposal on Violence against Women

Copyright © 2023 | WordPress Theme by MH Themes


  1. RESEARCH PROPOSAL SAMPLE On Women Empowerment and Micro Finance

    research proposal on women empowerment


    research proposal on women empowerment

  3. 😍 Research papers on women empowerment. Research proposal on women

    research proposal on women empowerment

  4. Research Proposal

    research proposal on women empowerment


    research proposal on women empowerment

  6. (PDF) Gender Equality and Women Empowerment: A Qualitative Study on

    research proposal on women empowerment


  1. Group proposal: Veterans Empowerment Network of San Diego

  2. F.C.T 2024 Budget: Health, Job Creation, Youth Empowerment Top Proposal

  3. Systematic reviews on the effectiveness of women’s empowerment programmes: panel │Priya Nanda

  4. Women Empowerment

  5. sapno ko pane ke liye mehnat || keep it up || pagal hona padta hai ||#virul_ #short #makemoneysaifi

  6. Women’s economic empowerment and its interactions with social and personal empowerment


  1. (PDF) Women Empowerment: A Literature Review

    Email [email protected] [email protected]. Abstract. Women empowerment is a critical issue in today's world, as it aims to increase women's. economic, social, and political power. This ...

  2. PDF Women Empowerment in Ethiopia

    Harvard University. May 2019 2019 Bathsheba Zewde Abstract. Gender inequality has always been an issue in Ethiopia. Women are highly. subordinated in every area of society. Despite affirmative action, constitutional law, and a. national legislature that fosters women empowerment, the practical standing of women is.

  3. PDF A Conceptual Framework for Measuring Empowerment

    EMERGE [Evidence-based Measures of Empowerment for Research on Gender Equality] is an initiative created to strengthen the development, recognition, and use of rigorous gender measures for program ... of these inputs into women and girls' empowerment, given the centrality of women's roles as mother and homemaker as justification for lesser ...


    develop a clearly defined model of women and girls' empowerment. We recognized a need to clarify what we mean by empowerment in order to set strategic goals, make investments with partners, and measure progress. Why develop a model of women and girls' empowerment? 1. UNICEF. Ending Child Marriage: Progress and Prospects. New York: UNICEF ...

  5. PDF Measuring Women's Empowerment: A Critical Review of ...

    current research efforts, and improving empowerment measurement is a frequently iden-tified research priority. However, a discussion of specific steps researchers can take to ... Women's empowerment, the process of women enhancing their ability to make strategic life choices (Kabeer 1999), is an intrinsic human rights goal. Low empowerment ...

  6. PDF LILES, HEIDI H. M.A.. Women's Empowerment: Defining and

    LILES, HEIDI H. M.A.. Women's Empowerment: Defining and Operationalizing a Critical Variable. (2021) Directed by Dr. Steve Kroll-Smith. 67 pp. The purpose of this study is to shed light on how development experts and organizations. define and operationalize the term "women's empowerment.". Utilizing primarily qualitative.

  7. Research paper Women's education through empowerment: Evidence from a

    The research highlights the close relationship between women's empowerment and education outcomes for girls. The multi-faceted Empowerment and Livelihood Program for Adolescents (ELA) in Uganda comes close to the MS intervention in terms of its scope and its operations centered in communities rather than schools ( Bandiera et al., 2020 ).

  8. PDF Understanding and Measuring Women's Economic Empowerment

    1. A definition of women's economic empow-erment; 2. A measurement framework that can guide the design, implementation and evaluation of programs to economically empower women; and. 3. A set of illustrative indicators that can serve as concrete examples for developing meaningful metrics for success. Brian Heilman/ICRW.

  9. Revisiting the Impact Evaluation of Women's Empowerment: A ...

    Women's empowerment programs play a critical role in achieving the United Nations' (UN's) sustainable development goal of "Gender Equality". However, non-profit organizations (NPOs) running women's empowerment (WE) programs face challenges in monitoring, assessing, and evaluating the social impact (SI) and program performance due to the lack of solid guidelines. This study aims to ...

  10. Women empowerment in reproductive health: a systematic review of

    Introduction. Recognition and measurement of women empowerment are critical for global development and human rights [].This was accentuated as the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 5), which targets to "achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls" [].Although the growing body of literature addresses the impact of women empowerment on reproductive outcomes, it is only recently ...

  11. PDF A Project Proposal on Enhancing Women's Capacity to ...

    in Sports (AKWOS) with its mission to empower women and a strategic objective to promote women's rights is ready to facilitate the processs of women's empowerment through sports. 2.2.2 International Perspective "Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation. And it is perhaps the most pervasive.

  12. PDF Women Empowerment in India: A Critical Analysis

    Section 3 provides the research objectives and methodology of the study. Section 4 analyses various legislations and government programmes for women empowerment, variegated initiatives taken for women empowerment by different ... The Women Empowerment Matrix (Wieringa, 1994) was contrived to map out the general gender issues at national level ...


    proposal title: maasai women empowerment program target: oloitokitok women groups duration: 6 months (august 2012 -jan 2013) submitted by: nkitoria ole sakuda simba maasai outreach organization p.o box 577-00208, ngong hills e-mail: [email protected]; [email protected]; tel. 254-722847620; 254-722895325

  14. PDF Promotion of Women Empowerment and Rights (POWER) Project Proposal by

    Promotion of Women Empowerment and Rights (POWER) Project Proposal by Mutual Relief and Liberty Organization Page 2 of 11 1.4 Executive Summary The proposed project by MRLO is aimed at promotion of women empowerment through gender mainstreaming. This will be done through promotion of women participation through capacity building and

  15. PDF The Project Proposal of Kanungu Women Empowerment Centre

    empowerment for women. This allows women to function in business and society which in turn empowers them to do more in their communities. The project will empower women to make choices that improve their own and their children's health and chances to survival and their welfare including marrying later and having fewer children.

  16. Concept note: theme: "Women's Economic Empowerment in the Changing

    The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is a functional Commission of the Economic and Social Council (Resolution 11 (II)). It is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. At each annual session, the CSW focuses on a specific priority theme to ...

  17. Op-ed: Building women's resilience to climate-driven poverty and food

    As women and men engage with the environment differently, they also play differentiated roles in environmental conservation and degradation. For instance, according to a 2022 national survey on gender and the environment in Tonga, men were more likely than women to apply pesticides when performing agriculture (67 per cent versus 43 per cent).Men (18 per cent), more so than women (6 per cent ...

  18. (DOC) Research proposal: (A proposal submitted in partial fulfillment

    Research proposal: (A proposal submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of BS) WOMEN HIGHER EDUCATION AND THEIR EMPOWERMENT IN FAMILY Supervised By: Mr. Waseem Khan lecturer Department of sociology and social work. ... The finding of the research was that if the women empowerment is low it will have terrible effect on ...

  19. Call for proposals for the implementation of UNW BCO BWP24-25

    Women in the green economy; Women in the green economy; Intergovernmental support; Ending violence against women. Africa Shared Research Agenda; UN system coordination; Peace and security; Governance and national planning; Policy and advisory support; Youth Engagement; Humanitarian Action. Women's Leadership, Access, Empowerment and ...

  20. Request for Proposal

    Jordan. Request for Proposal - Gender Equality, Social Inclusion, and Environmental Analysis Consultancy - RFP\JOR\2024\501 Organization. World University Service of Canada

  21. Research Proposal on Women Empowerment

    Research Proposal on Women Empowerment. April 25, 2013 UsefulResearchPapers Research Proposals 0. Women empowerment is the process of treating women like the equal companions with the same rights and duties as men have. Since the dawn of the human civilization women have always been treated like the lower gender and their main duty was to take ...