Women’s Empowerment Index

Overcoming gender inequality is absolutely critical to achieving the end of hunger. Women often bear the responsibility for meeting the needs of their family; yet they are frequently denied the resources, information and freedom of action to fulfill this responsibility. Studies show that when women are empowered, all of society benefits. As such, women’s empowerment is an essential component of all of The Hunger Project’s programs.

To assess impact and review performance in this area, The Hunger Project had sought to identify and adopt a standard, recognized approach. Yet, it became quickly clear that there was a gap in standard measurement approaches to such an important area of work. Though women’s empowerment is a mainstay feature for many international organizations’ programs and practices, a standard, collective approach for tracking progress is still missing.

Therefore, The Hunger Project decided to fill this measurement gap by building the custom Women’s Empowerment Index. The index builds on research and innovations by a variety of organizations, yet is unique to The Hunger Project, allowing for a special focus on measurements that we recognize as central to overcoming rural poverty and disempowerment.

What is the WEI?

The Women’s Empowerment Index (WEI) is a composite index designed to measure progress in the multi-dimensional aspects of women’s empowerment. It considers empowerment to be a factor of both women’s achievements as well as of gender parity with men. WEI measures progress on women’s empowerment by aggregating results across five key areas (or “domains”). Each domain is comprised of a series of metrics (or “indicators”) which quantifies performance in this domain.

Read the full Women’s Empowerment Index Paper

Dive Deeper:


Information on our household surveys where we collect Women’s Empowerment Index information and other interesting data can be found here; it includes information on how we use local students as enumerators and provides an example of a household survey.

More information on other indications and data points we track and measure in conjunction with household surveys can be found here.