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close this bookPoverty Elimination and the Empowerment of Women (DFID, 2000, 51 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe international development targets
View the documentDepartment for International Development
View the documentForeword by the Secretary of State
View the documentExecutive Summary
Open this folder and view contents1. Introduction
Open this folder and view contents2. The challenge
Open this folder and view contents3. Experience to date
Open this folder and view contents4. Meeting the challenge
Open this folder and view contents5. Priorities for DFID
View the document6. Monitoring progress
View the documentAnnex: Global and regional indicators of development progress for the international development targets
View the documentBack Cover

6. Monitoring progress

6.1 Progress towards the achievement of DFID's specific objectives will be measured against 'real world' outcomes, with the International Development Targets providing core indicators, along with other appropriate measures of progress. The main measures to be used are set out in Box 4.

6.2 The key measures are drawn from the working set of 21 core indicators agreed by the international community to measure progress towards the achievement of the International Development Targets. Of these, 12 indicators either already refer specifically to measures of progress for women or can be readily disaggregated by sex to provide male-female comparisons. These cover all of the economic well-being and social and human development targets. Where disaggregation by sex is required, this is shown in the box.

6.3 Where possible, it will also be valuable to obtain measures of the impact of income poverty on women, compared with men. This measure has proven very difficult to obtain as part of standard, national statistics, but specific studies can be very revealing in exploring the extent to which poverty impacts differentially not only on women and men, but also across generations and in relation to different members of households.

6.4 The current status of the core indicators is shown in the Annex. In some cases, sex-disaggregated data is not yet available. Efforts will be required by governments, with support from donors (including DFID), to improve the collection and use of statistics to ensure that more gender-sensitive measures become available, and are fed into policy making processes.

6.5 The Gender-related Development Index (GDI) and the Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) devised by the United Nations Development Programme help fill important gaps in providing measures of women's empowerment, and in providing comparative measures of aggregate progress from country to country. The GDI combines measures of life expectancy, literacy, school enrolment, and real income, broken down by sex. The GEM is a specific measure of women's empowerment and ranks countries according to women's share of seats in parliament, administrative and management jobs, professional and technical posts, and national income. Results are published every year in the UNDP's Human Development Report.

Box 4. Core indicators for measuring progress towards gender equality

International Development Targets


Reducing extreme poverty

Child malnutrition: prevalence of underweight under 5s (by sex)

Universal primary education

Net enrolment in primary education (by sex)
Completion of 4th grade of primary education (by sex)
Literacy rate of 15 to 24 year olds (by sex)

Gender equality

Ratio of girls to boys in primary and secondary education
Ratio of literate females to males among 15 to 24 year olds

Infant & child mortality

Infant mortality rate (by sex)
Under 5 mortality rate (by sex)

Maternal mortality

Maternal mortality ratio
Births attended by skilled health personnel

Reproductive health

Contraceptive prevalence rate
HIV prevalence in 15-24 year old pregnant women

6.6 In addition to these core indicators and indexes, a number of other international, national, and local measures and reporting systems will also be helpful in tracking progress towards the achievement of the objectives set out in this strategy. A selection of these, which include the components of the GDI and GEM, are summarised in Box 5.

6.7 The proposed measures are provided for general guidance, and will need to be adapted to suit local conditions. Some measures, like progress towards the achievement of the International Development Targets and the use of the UNDP Gender-related Development Index (GDI) and the Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM), are likely to be valid in all circumstances. Others may be more context and country specific.

6.8 Since all of these measures are aimed towards real world outcomes, it will be extremely difficult in almost all cases to attribute progress directly to DFID supported actions. Process and input measures will also need to be used, therefore, to provide verification that our own contribution is consistent with what is required to achieve the desired outcomes. An improving knowledge base should make this easier to achieve as further progress is made. Qualitative measures, and the extensive use of participatory methods to amplify women's voices, will also play a crucial part in both understanding the deeper meaning of data collected through more formal methods and in providing direct measures of progress from a women's perspective.

6.9 The strategy set out in this paper is broad-based. The framework for measuring progress towards the achievement of the specific objectives to which DFID is committed is necessarily broad too. At its heart, however, are the International Development Targets and the key indicators which have been identified to measure progress towards the achievement of these. Clear targets and measures of progress are essential, to focus minds, to provide encouragement when progress is made, and to strengthen co-ordination around common goals.

Box 5. Additional international, national and local measures



1. To promote equality in rights for women and men through international and national policy reform.

UN progress reports on implementation of the Global Platform for Action agreed at the Beijing conference and CEDAW.
Reviews of bilateral donor performance by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD.

2. To secure greater livelihood security, access to productive assets, and economic opportunities for women as well as men.

Larger share and control for women of earned income, household income, and assets.
Changes in land and other laws relating to women's property and tenure rights.
Development of more gender aware approaches, tools and methods, for infrastructure development.
Core labour standards adhered to, and terms and conditions of work for women improve.
Improved access to financial and non-financial business and small enterprise services for poor women.
More equitable access to basic services, including water, sanitation, clean energy, and transport.
Changes in international regulations and policy frameworks to ensure more benefits to women from globalisation.

3. To further close gender gaps in human development, particularly education and health.

Closing of gender gaps in standard sets of social indicators, including UN Common Country Assessment indicators.

4. To promote the more equal participation of women in decision making and leadership roles at all levels.

Country by country data on women's representation in national and local government, and the judiciary and legal profession.
Reporting data on women's representation in international organisations and related bodies.

5. To increase women's personal security and reduce gender-based violence.

UN and other reporting.
Sex disaggregated crime and justice statistics.
Data on crimes against women.

6. To strengthen institutional mechanisms and national machineries for the advancement of women in governments and civil society.

UN and national progress reports on implementation of the Global Platform for Action agreed at the Beijing conference.

7. To promote equality for women under the law and non-discrimination in access to justice.

CEDAW and other reports.

8 To reduce gender stereotyping, and bring about changes in social attitudes in favour of women.

UN and other reports.

9. To help develop gender aware approaches to the management of the environment and the safeguarding of natural resources.

UN progress reports on implementation of the Rio agreements.
Analysis of gender content of National Strategies for Sustainable Development.
Sex-disaggregated data on the labour force, particularly women's role in agriculture and other occupations particularly relevant to the environment.

10. To ensure that progress is made in upholding the rights of both girls and boys, within the framework of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

UN progress reports on the implementation of the CRC.
Closing of gender gaps in child related UN Common Country Assessment indicators, disaggregated by sex.