Participation of women in household decision-making index

Participation of women in household decision-making index

Participation of women in household decision-making index

This indicator measures women’s participation in the following three decisions:

  • Determining own health care;
  • Making large household purchases; and
  • Visiting family or relatives.

A woman participates in a given decision when she alone or jointly with someone else makes the decision. The index is defined as the number of decisions a woman participates in. It is calculated by giving a score of 1 to each decision a woman participates (and 0 otherwise) in alone or jointly with someone else and then taking the sum. The index value will thus range from 0 (participates in none of the three decisions) to 3 (participates in all three decisions).

Data Requirement(s):

Responses to the question “Who in your family usually has the final say on the following decisions: determining your own health care, making large household purchases, making household purchases for daily needs, visiting family and relatives, deciding what to prepare for daily meals?”

Population-based survey such as the DHS or RHS (on selected surveys)

This index is perhaps the most direct measure of women’s empowerment since it examines women’s participation in at least three crucial decision-making processes. This type of information is now part of the core DHS questionnaire, and certain countries may have additional questions about other important decisions. Evaluators should frame the index in terms of women’s participation (alone or jointly) in each of the three major decisions.

An earlier version of this index included five major decision-making areas.  “Making daily household purchases” and “deciding what to prepare for daily meals” were removed as they were found to be quite outdated and therefore did not yield valuable information.

The higher the index score, the greater the indication of gender equity in decision-making. Aggregated individual index scores provide a measure of gender equity within regions or countries, or over time.