A Framework for Assessing Women’s Economic Empowerment

Abstract

Global progress towards gender parity across critical areas of life is still at the disadvantage of women. Women are in a disadvantage position in such areas as the ownership and control over assets, access to affordable credit, social reproduction, to socio-political representation, cultural practices and participation in formal sector of the economy. The consequence of such disparities limits the extent women can exercise choice and make decisions economically, socially, and politically. Therefore, how to flatten the curve and reverse these disparities remains the subject of the subsisting women’s empowerment conundrum about whether others can externally determine empowerment, or if women have to be the agents of their empowerment. What then defines the empowerment framework and understandings of the form that empowerment should take remains debatable. This paper critically reviewed how the empowerment of women has been discussed and conceptualised within development studies, with particular focus on women’s economic empowerment. The paper further looked at issues around women’s empowerment measurement and indicators; identified some frameworks for measuring women’s empowerment. Lastly, the author proposed a conceptual framework within which women’s empowerment might be assessed. To this end, women’s economic empowerment was defined as the extent women exercise control over decisions relating to accessing and use of resources and the resulting household reality.

Keywords: Agency, Empowerment, Nigeria, Women’s Empowerment, economic empowerment framework, indicators

Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 1-17 (Download PDF)

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