The social enterprises in our study shared several methods used to measure the impact of their gender empowerment practices. These include:

  • Case studies: 

Make use of narratives of how the women have ‘moved on with my life, what do I do next?’. It can describe how the SE empowered them.

  • Pre/post questionnaire/interview: 

Use baseline assessment before starting SE interventions to empower the women and then use endline assessment at the end of the intervention to measure the effect of your intervention. One SE that employs women ask about:

  • Before:
    • where are you right now?
    • what it is, that you want to get from the process? The SE recognised that women have different objectives and priorities.’You know not everyone sees their career as a ladder. Sometimes it’s about spreading out or moving’ (Social Enterprise 4)
  • After:
    • where are you now?
    • Can you tell me how this intervention has directly impacted your life? (e.g. you started a business, got a job, was promoted within the job, got a degree, ‘managed to achieve things that you set out to do’)
  • Mental health assessment tools (self-report questionnaires): 

For SEs working with women, a good way to assess their impact on gender empowerment is using mental health assessment tools such as Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scales (WEMWS).  One SE used WEMWS to evaluate where women were at the start of their training (‘how are they feeling that particular day?’). At the end of the session, they asked the same question and monitored women’s responses.

‘So at the end of, say their ten week training course, we can see that we measure the distance travelled.’ (Social Enterprise 1)

This is helpful as sometimes the women are at a very low level of well-being and the SE needs to know if they should refer the women to other organizations to obtain more specialised support.  It is also useful as

‘you just don’t want to put them off by, you know, asking all kinds of questions. So we do have this tick box. So we use as an indication, where they’re at and how they’re feeling about themselves and how they fit in the world around them’. (Social Enterprise 1)

Impact indicators

Social enterprises can also use the indicators of impact below, which are drawn from the interviews. They are in alignment with definitions of gender empowerment. They can be both qualitative and quantitative.

Women at the end of the SE intervention are:

  • Able to learn …
  • More confident to …
  • Become a social applicate, interacting with other organisations such as …
  • Able to be in contact with other people, such as …
  • Able to be economically independent by …
  • Feel valued by …
  • Able to give a purpose / inspire / help others, such as …
  • Able to have time to do other activities, such as …
  • Capable of starting/continuing in a progression route by …
  • Able to be a role model for their families
  • Able to start their own supporting group
  • Able to understand they have more to offer than they need to take

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