Editoras: Susana Martínez Restrepo - Laura Ramos Jaimes.
MEASURING WOMEN’S ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT:
Lessons from: South America.
- EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Women face signifcant economic, social, and cultural challenges that limit their access to markets, quality jobs, and entrepreneurship and income-generation strategies. InColombia, women in poverty make only 55 percent of the income their male counterparts earn (Martinez-Restrepo, 2017). In 2015, an estimated 47.7 percent of women in the rural areas of Peru did not receive any sort of income (INEI, 2016).
The big question among policy makers, development agencies, and researchers in the field of women’s economic empowerment is how to eectively improve women’s economic empowerment through income-generation strategies, training, and social programs. One way to address this question is by exploring the way we define and measure women’s economic empowerment, since it impacts the design of interventions, programs, and policies.
Conventional measures of economic empowerment have used employment, income, and education as proxies. More recently, the research community has recognized the relevance of subjective dimensions such as decision-making power over purchases, bargaining power, subjective perceptions of well-being, and freedom of choice.
One of the current challenges we face as researchers from South American countries is that some of the instruments used to measure economic empowerment, particularly through subjective dimensions, do not necessarily work for women in poverty. Oen, women interpret abstract questions dierently than researchers expect and the subjective measurements researchers use carry context-specific meanings. these facts suggest that we should adopt alternative strategies when measuring economic empowerment in low-income settings across South America.