Household Decision-Making Index
English: average score on Household Decision-Making Index
French: score moyen sur l’Index de prise de décision des ménages
Portuguese: pontuação média no Índice de Tomada de Decisão Do Agregado Familiar
Czech: průměrné skóre Indexu rozhodování v domácnosti
What is its purpose?
Women’s decision-making power is one of the key aspects of gender equality. This indicator therefore measures the level of women’s involvement in household decision-making regarding consumption and expenditures, reproductive choices, and other decisions.
How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data
Collect the following data by conducting individual interviews with a representative sample of women aged 15 – 49 years that live with their husband or partner:
RECOMMENDED SURVEY QUESTIONS (Q) AND POSSIBLE ANSWERS (A)
Q1: Who usually decides how much of the staple crops grown by your household will be kept for consumption in the household and how much will be sold?
Q2: Who usually decides how much of the vegetables grown by your household will be kept for consumption in the household and how much will be sold?
Q3: Who usually decides how to spend the income that you bring into the household?
Q4: Who usually decides how to spend the income that your partner brings into the household?
Q5: Who usually decides about making smaller purchases, such as food and other less expensive needs?
Q6: Who usually decides about making more expensive purchases, such as new animals or household equipment?
Q7: Who usually decides on which family members you will visit and when?
Q8: Who usually decides whether your child will be taken for health care to a health facility when s/he is sick?
Q9: Who usually decides whether you or your partner will use any type of contraception, such as condoms or pills?
Q10: Who decides how many children you will have?
A1-10: [one option only; do not read the answers]
1) Respondent herself
3) Respondent and husband jointly
4) Another household member
5) Respondent and another household member jointly
6) Someone outside the household
7) Household not involved in this activity
Take the following steps to calculate the value of the Index:
- provide 1 point for each activity on which the respondent fully or partially decided (= answers 1, 3, 5)
- calculate the total number of points per each respondent
- count the total number of answered questions - you have to exclude those questions where the household was not involved in the activity (for example, the household members did not grow any vegetables)
- divide the total number of points by the total number of answered questions – for example, 7 divided by 10 = 0.7
- the result is the respondent’s score on the Household Decision-Making Index
- to calculate the Index’s average value (for all respondents), add up the total scores of the individual respondents’ Indexes and divide these by the number of respondents
The closer the value of the Index is to 1, the more women are involved in household decision-making (and the other way – the closer the value of the Index is to 0, the less women are involved).
Disaggregate the data by age groups, ethnicity, wealth, and other factors depending on the local context.
1) Conduct the survey only with women that live with their husbands/partners.
2) Consider analysing which aspects of household decision-making recorded the biggest changes (for example, there might be changes in the decisions regarding the grown crops but little change in the use of the generated income). Compared to the Index score (which is essentially just a number), such analysis will provide you with deeper insights into the changes in household decision-making.
3) Always adjust the set of questions according to the context in which the survey will take place (e.g. rural versus urban context). It is recommended that you conduct key informant interviews with both women and men where you ask what the most important decisions are, which they routinely make as a household. Based on the findings, you can revise the questions accordingly.
4) The results can be presented in two different ways:
- “the average score on Household Decision-Making Index” (see above).
- “% of households with women actively engaged in household decision-making” - as ‘households with women actively engaged’, all households with a Household Decision-Making Index score in the top third of the 0-1 range – i.e. 0.67 and higher can be counted.
5) Consider making the target group more specific – for example, “women aged 18 – 49 years”, depending on the focus of your intervention.
6) Be aware that while the indicator manages to capture the extent to which women are involved in household decision-making, it does not capture the equality of women and men’s decision-making power (for example, it will not show if women have higher decision-making power than do men).
7) This indicator was adapted based on Oxfam (2017) Measuring Women’s Empowerment (see below).
8) European Commission's DEVCO recommends to use a similar version of this indicator: "% of women who participate (solely or jointly) in decisions about household income".
Access Additional Guidance
- Oxfam (2017) A ‘How To’ Guide to Measuring Women’s Empowerment (.pdf)