New Areas and Measures for the Study of Women’s Empowerment: Group-based collective agency, time-use agency, and sexual harassment

Scholars increasingly focus their efforts on improving the breadth and quality of women’s empowerment metrics. Many aspects of women’s empowerment, however, remain unaddressed. This session will present work on women’s empowerment in three new or under-studied areas: group-based collective agency, time-use agency, and sexual harassment. In Delea et al. the authors use data from Nigeria to develop and validate a new scale to measure group based collective agency—the perceived ability of a group to unite, establish goals, and act to achieve those goals. With the increased focus on collectives in agricultural development programs, this scale will be important for understanding group dynamics and the impacts of different group-based interventions on collective agency. The session also includes two papers on time-use agency—the strategic choices that individuals make about how to allocate their time. The first (Eissler et al.) explores gendered experiences of time-use agency based on qualitative studies in Benin, Malawi, and Nigeria, and describes the gender-based barriers that women experience in exercising agency over their time. The second (Sinharoy et al.) presents a newly validated survey-based approach to measuring time-use agency based on data collected in Ghana; this measure could complement time use data collection methods, to provide insight into agency over time. Finally, using data from Benin and Malawi, the sexual harassment paper (Heckert & Seymour) addresses a critical topic for understanding the contextual factors that contribute to the (dis)empowerment of women, especially as they upgrade their participation in agricultural value chains or become entrepreneurs.


Jessica Heckert, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Jessica Heckert and Greg Seymour, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Measuring and understanding the implications of sexual harassment among women who work in agricultural value chains

Maryann G. Delea, The Carter Center, USA
The Group-Related Collective Agency Scales (GCAS-23 and GCAS-12) – Full and Short-Form Scales for Construct Measurement in Nigeria and Beyond

Sarah Eissler, Independent consultant
Exploring gendered experiences of time-use agency in Benin, Malawi, and Nigeria as a new concept to measure women’s empowerment

Sheela S. Sinharoy, Emory University, USA
Development and validation of a survey-based measure of time-use agency