Measuring Women’s Economic Empowerment: Critical Lessons from South America

Women face significant economic, social, and cultural challenges that limit their access to markets, quality jobs, and entrepreneurship and income-generation strategies. The big question among policy makers, development agencies, and researchers in the fi¬eld of women’s economic empowerment is how to effectively improve women’s economic empowerment through income-generation strategies, training, and social programs. 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. In this context, the objective of this book is to provide empirical evidence from the South American countries of Colombia, Peru, and Uruguay about our experiences as researchers implementing existing methods and questionnaires used to explain and measure women’s economic empowerment in terms of individual outcomes. Our evidence focuses on the results, effects, impacts, and measurement of economic empowerment.