Understanding Gender Norms in Rural Burkina Faso: A Qualitative Assessment

Will involving men in women’s empowerment increase project impact?

This report documents a series of qualitative assessments completed as part of a pilot test of the Pro-WEAI (Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index), the first comprehensive standardized measure to capture women’s empowerment and inclusion in the agricultural sector. The Pro-WEAI seeks to assist individual organizations and projects with measurement tools that can be used to assess empowerment of women within the context of agricultural projects.

The qualitative research from this pilot test provides concrete examples of the ways in which women in two communities in Burkina Faso are empowered and disempowered. It suggests that savings groups have improved the mobility, financial independence, leadership skills, and resilience of women in these communities. The results also shed light on the extent to which women must request permission from their husbands before making decisions or participating in activities. These findings make it apparent that any project aiming to benefit and empower women in this area must also influence men.

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By Caitlin Kieran, Bobbi Gray & Megan Gash