Measuring Women’s Empowerment in India
The Hunger Project-India has designed a tool, the Composite Capacity Index, to measure the overall empowerment of elected women representatives who participate in our programs.
At The Hunger Project, we believe in measuring what matters. As an organization grounded in bottom up-approaches, understanding the extent of our impact at the community level is paramount—for our community partners, our dedicated global staff, our investors and policymakers considering adopting our approach.
In India, The Hunger Project’s work focuses on leadership development, empowering women who have been elected to their local village councils, yet have been systematically denied information, freedom of motion and voice in decision making.
The Composite Capacity Index seeks to understand the enhancement of the overall capacities of the elected women representatives trained by The Hunger Project during their five-year participation in our program. Behind the index is the proposition that if elected women representatives are provided the right skills, knowledge and support, they can make a difference in their communities by driving development and ensuring social and gender justice for all citizens.
The index provides scores ranging from 0-100, with 100 being the best outcome. Its measurements focus on three main areas:
- Skills, i.e., women’s overall knowledge of roles, responsibilities, existing schemes and local governance structures;
- Agency, i.e., women’s participation in public spaces, confidence levels and interaction with local government and other Panchayat (local council) members; and
- Leadership, i.e., their ability to plan, draw up strategies and implement goals.
First developed in 2014 for the state of Madhya Pradesh, the index has now been extended to the states of Rajasthan, Karnataka, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Odisha. To date, the index has been applied to over 3,000 trained elected women leaders. In an outcome evaluation of THP-India’s work in Odisha over the most recent election cycle (2012-2017), index scores have increased by 67%. This indicates that over the course of the five years, knowledge levels of elected women representatives with respect to their roles and, as well as their overall understanding of the status of women and the governance system, have greatly increased.