moderated Re: #ediscussionday3 - diagnosis and measurement #ediscussionday3
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Adriano, thanks for launching us into a discussion about social norms measurement. I think IFPRI and the crew working on the project-level Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index have also done quite a bit of thinking about social norms. We've been collaborating on testing the quantitative and qualitative tools for this and it's been an interesting learning experience. There are a quantitative instrument as well as qualitative tools for the assessments. The idea is that they're trying to find a standardized way to measure empowerment which is really based on a set of norms around mobility, decision-making power, access to resources, etc. It requires you to interview men and women and compare their answers.
This is where we've gained some interesting insights into people's beliefs, how they relate or don't relate to each other, and helps you identify potential priorities for changes in social norms and empowerment. For example, this is where we learned in Burkina Faso that men are more disempowered in access to credit than women, but they make the most decisions around finances.
When you ask people to share their definition of an empowered man or woman, you learn that there is a tension between a woman being submissive to one's husband, but also being able to make decisions and earn income.
I think one of the challenges we've had when accessing norms, is the contradictions you'll find and the importance of, as you say, leaving room for validating what you've learned back with people to seek clarity. In questions around decision-making power for example, if you ask who makes the decision and then you ask whether the woman would like more decision-making power, you sometimes see women say "no"--that even though she has no decisionmaking power on something doesn't mean she wants it either. Having decision-making power can be interpreted as "being responsible for/being burdened with" something.
I think the biggest challenge in measurement is 1. recognizing that social norms (specific to women's empowerment) are complex (like the concept of resilience), 2. this requires a lot of information due to the complexity, 3. but we need simple measures because we're always constrained on budgets, time, etc. Decision-making questions are fraught with interpretation issues without a lot of qualitative information to support them, but they often get used because it helps understand "power to" do something. I remember in my "early days" I really wanted to see women say "I alone make the decision" but over time, have appreciated you really want to see "we make a joint decision" on most items. So, we also have to check how we're interpreting the data too.
On Thu, Jun 13, 2019 at 10:37 AM Adriano Scarampi <adriano@...> wrote: