Compendium of

Gender Scales

About the Compendium

The identification of appropriate gender-related measures is important for developing and evaluating interventions that aim to promote positive health outcomes by addressing the gender norms that function as barriers to health.

Gender has been posited as a gateway factor to behaviors that affect health outcomes and health status. While gender norms and power dynamics between men and women have been studied in context of HIV and gender-based violence, less is known about their role in contraceptive use and their influence on reproductive health behaviors. C-Change (Communication for Change) has been exploring the impact of gender on family planning and the validity of current gender scales in predicting contraceptive use.

What is a Scale?

A scale is a numerical score aggregating multiple indicators believed to reflect an underlying concept. Because there is no single "gold standard" for measuring gender norms, gender attitudes, women's empowerment, and other aspects of gender, researchers often use multiple measures. Using a single measure is not possible because gender operates in multiple spheres and has many facets. When a single measure is preferred, a scale combining several items creates a more valid measure than any single scale item used alone.

Why a Compendium of Gender Scales?

In March 2010, C-Change convened a working group of researchers with expert knowledge of gender scales to review those scales in current use. The participants identified scales that measure adherence to gender norms and reviewed how they have been used to measure the success of interventions in changing these norms.

The working group enthusiastically supported the creation of an online compendium of gender scales. They saw the value of making it easily accessible by health and development practitioners, who may want to use these tools to assess gender-related attitudes and beliefs and evaluate their interventions. Scales selected for the compendium have all been tested for their ability to measure gender attitudes and predict behaviors of interest, such as gender-based violence and partner reduction. The scales include those developed by working group participants as well as other scales they identified.

The compendium is not exhaustive. It does not encompass all scales appropriate for studying gender and health outcomes, and it does not identify which scale is best for a specific study or evaluation.

Which Gender Scales Are Included?

The following gender scales are included in this compendium:

As additional gender scales are identified, readers are encouraged to contact C-Change (cchangegsc@fhi360.org) so that such scales can also be considered for inclusion in this compendium.

What Type of Information Is Provided on Each Gender Scale?

Each gender scale in this compendium includes the following information, when available:

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