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Cornell University

Tata-Cornell Institute for Agriculture and Nutrition

Adapting the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index to Specific Country Context: Insights and Critiques from Fieldwork in India


The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) is a direct, multi-dimensional measure of women’s access to resources and decision-making in various domains of agriculture. However, several challenges characterize its use: adaptation of questionnaires to local agricultural contexts, modifications to index construction once underlying activities and adequacy thresholds are modified, and sensitivity analysis. In this paper, we address such challenges based on our experience of adapting and using the WEAI across 3600 households in India. In doing so we contribute to the methodological and technical base underlying the index, expand the WEAI evidence base for South Asia, and highlight the importance of tailoring the index to specific agricultural contexts in order to impact public policies in a meaningful way.

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