Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Study: Feed the Future Senegal Naatal Mbay

Study Report

Focus Areas: Economic Empowerment

In 2016, the Feed the Future Senegal Naatal Mbay project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), conducted a study on women’s empowerment in agriculture to determine the level of empowerment among participating households and to identify the main constraints to empowerment. The study included quantitative data collected through the Abbreviated Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (A-WEAI) survey and additional qualitative methods. The study found that, overall, women surveyed within the project’s zone of influence were relatively empowered, with an overall score of 0.783 out of a possible 1.0, and where 0.80 is considered adequately empowered. Some of the main constraints to empowerment identified by respondents included a lack of participation in household decision making on production, lack of involvement in community groups, and inadequate access to and management of agricultural credit. As expected, across all regions, the empowerment score for men is, on average, higher than the score for women. The study found a statistically significant positive correlation between education level and women’s empowerment, as well as between the ability to read and write and women’s empowerment. It should be noted that the extent to which current and previous USAID programming has had an impact on this score is not able to be measured through the A-WEAI – which measures women’s empowerment at a specific point in time – and is therefore outside of the scope of this study. Based on the findings of the study, the study team proposed several recommendations to promote women’s economic empowerment in future programming in Senegal.


Sarah Miller Frazer

“Effective international development depends on investing in women’s empowerment as well as measuring and learning from the pathways of change."