October 8, 2020

Reconceptualizing Women's and Girls' Empowerment: A Cross-Cultural Index for Measuring Progress Toward Improved Sexual and Reproductive Health

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Improving women's empowerment is pivotal to public health and development programs; however, inconsistent definitions and lack of cross-cultural measures compromise monitoring efforts.

Data collected in 2017–2018 in Ethiopia, Uganda and two sites in Nigeria were used to develop a cross-cultural index of women's and girls' empowerment in sexual and reproductive health (WGE-SRH). Item development was grounded in qualitative interviews, and informed by a conceptual framework that included domains of existence of choice and exercise of choice related to sex, contraceptive use and pregnancy. Items were pilot tested among 1,229 women aged 15–49 across sites.