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Empowerment of Women and Girls: a Conceptual Model

KIT developed a conceptual model on the empowerment of women and girls in close partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The model was presented in a White Paper: Conceptual model of women and girls’ empowerment. KIT conducted in-depth background research that formed the basis for the Foundation’s Method’s Note for measuring women and girl’s empowerment. 

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What does the empowerment of women and girls mean?

The model aims to provide clarity and a common language on what the empowerment of women and girls means for the foundation. The White Paper defines empowerment of women and girls as ‘the expansion of choice and strengthening of voice through the transformation of power relations, so women and girls have more control over their lives and futures. It is both a process and an outcome’.

The White Paper and conceptual model are based on a review of over 115 resources. These resources come from development agencies, knowledge and research institutes, women’s rights organisations, development NGOs and multi and bilateral donors. The White Paper benefited from a set of webinars as well as conversations with 40 foundation staff. The first ideas were presented and discussed at the first meeting of the Women and Girls at the Centre of Development Grand Challenge (Nairobi 2016). The draft paper was revised based on the discussions at an expert convening in Seattle with foundation staff, grantees and experts.

How do you measure the empowerment of women & girls?

In the second phase of the project, KIT developed practical and methodological guidance to foundation staff and grantees that are interested in the measurement of empowerment of women and girls. Our background research was closely tailored to the outcome investing and actionable measurement at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It provided direction on and reference to guiding principles, indicators, existing measures, and references to methods, tools and resource documents. This guidance has now been incorporated into the Foundation’s Methods Note: “What gets measured matters: a methods note for measuring women and girl’s empowerment”. This is one component of the Foundation’s Gender Equality toolbox website.


What gets measured matters: a methods note for measuring women and girls’ empowerment

The purpose of this Methods Note is to provide practical guidance on how to integrate measures of empowerment into investments that strive to achieve gender equality and women and girls’ empowerment.  The methods note is designed to assist applying the foundation’s model for women and girls empowerment in practical and tangible ways; design programs that effectively and holistically integrate women and girls empowerment into their approaches; develop clear measures for tracking progress towards women and girls empowerment; better understand and apply effective methods for measuring empowerment.

The background research for this Method Note published by the BMGF was provided by the KIT team consisting of Anouka van Eerdewijk, Julie Newton, Marcelo Tyszler, Chloe Vaast, Lisanne Oonk, Jesse d’Anjou and Franz Wong

Download: What Gets Measured Matters – A Methods Note For Measuring Women and Girls’ Empowerment

Services delivered

  • Applied research

    KIT Royal Tropical Institute addresses development challenges at local, regional and global levels through research that generates new insights and knowledge in our areas of expertise: health, sustainable economic development and gender.

  • Monitoring, Evaluation & Impact Assessment

  • Policy & Programme Design

    KIT operates at the intersection of theory and practice and between policy and implementation, translating good intentions into meaningful social and economic impact. Our professional staff combine expertise in specific content areas with the ability to offer a diverse suite of advisory services, including policy and programme design and implementation. This experience enables our advisors to navigate sustainable development processes and identify elements that can make a difference in programme performance. We help governments, organisations and businesses to learn from their experiences, improve practice, and maximize the impact of their interventions. With the knowledge we share, public and private investors are better equipped to identify the investments that yield highest economic and social impact.