Compendium of

Gender Scales

Women's Empowerment Scale

Scale Objective

To measure women's empowerment, defined as the ability to exercise agency and acquire resources within a context of gender inequality.

Type(s) of Behavior or Outcomes Predicted

Current contraceptive use

Types of Items Included

Number of Items and Subscales

Women’s Mobility Subscale Items

Scoring Procedures

Each respondent was given 1 point for each place she had visited and an additional point if she had ever gone there alone. The scale ranged from 0 to 8 and was employed as a continuous variable.

Freedom from Family Domination Subscale Items

Have any of the following happened to you in the past 12 months?

Scoring Procedures

A woman was classified as "empowered" and coded as 1 if she said that none of these things had happened to her. The category "not empowered," was coded as 0.

Economic Security and Contribution Subscale Items

Scoring Procedures

Psychometrics Used in Scale Construction


Type(s) of Statistics Used to Test Predictive Validity

Logistic regression

Used with Women


Used with Men




Additional Information

The construction of the scale was based on a literature review; ethnographic interviews and observation; and interviews with staff of credit programs, women's groups, and NGOs. Mobility, the first subscale, intends to tap into women's agency, while the second subscale, women's freedom from family domination, more accurately represents a lack of agency or ability to exercise agency. The third subscale, women's economic security, is meant to tap into two related aspects of empowerment: women's resources and their capacities. These scales are intended to be culture-specific. Specific items in each of them should be reviewed and adapted before attempting to use them in a new setting.



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