Gates’ Grand Challenge to Measure Empowerment

Through my work with individual students and teachers, my girls’ club, and Camp GLOW, I learned a lot about empowerment. About how students who feel empowered to ask questions tend to do better in school, and stay in school longer. About how teachers who feel empowered to take on new activities inside and outside the classroom to help their students are the teachers who¬†are making big differences in their students’ lives. About how when women and girls are empowered to make decisions about their own lives, everyone is stronger: families, communities, finances, countries.

But as I have mentioned in previous posts, measuring this can be hard. Empowerment is a process, and a messy, complicated one at that. And while data shows that an extra year of primary school can boost girls’ eventual earnings 10-20%, and an extra year of secondary school by 15-25% (source: tweet by USAID), more detailed analysis of the effects of empowerment has so far been lacking.

The Gates Foundation is trying to change that. They announced a Grand Challenge to create new methods of measuring empowerment – both the process of empowerment, and its effects on individuals, communities, and economies.

So if you have ideas on how we can measure social change and empowerment, let us know! You could benefit millions by making projects more effective.