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Management Control by Gender

This metric aims to capture differences in decision-making power between men and women. To be operationalized, it will be necessary to choose the most important decision within the given context. For cropping systems, one could measure the land area where women report that they are the primary decision maker about crop management (solely as well as jointly) compared to the land area where men report being the primary decision maker (solely as well as jointly). Some simple survey questions are “Who decides what crop to plant?” “Who decides what inputs to apply?” and “Who decides when to plant, fertilize, or weed?” Agency over the use of production factors (i.e., plowing) can be indirectly measured by asking, for example, when women’s and men’s fields get prepared. Management control gender gaps need to be explored for other areas of agriculture as well, such as livestock raising, irrigation schemes, and collective marketing efforts.

A longer-term focus for cropping systems may be helpful where SI technologies aim to improve land quality. Ownership of land shows that the individual has the incentive to make long-term investments; however, quantifying ownership of land by gender is not a simple matter for two reasons. First, ownership of land may mean different things in different contexts. Complete ownership would include having the right to manage it, the right to control the benefits from it, and the right to transfer rights to others (Rao, 2016). In many developing country contexts, traditional tenure systems do not give individuals the rights to transfer land, so the term “ownership” refers simply to the rights to manage and to control benefits from the land. Second, quantifying ownership is difficult because de facto ownership may be different from de jure ownership (i.e., the name on the title). Rao (2016) justifies a focus on de facto rights by giving the example of someone officially owning distant land that they are not able to access, while another has access to land without a title. These de facto rights to land need to be assessed at the individual level and not simply at household level.

How to operationalize the metric

Method of data collection and data needed to compute the method:

CARE’s Intra-household decision-making tool can be used to understand how decisions are made between men and women in a household, as described in the box below.

CARE’s Intra-household decision-making tool

Objective: To understand how decisions are made around resources and strategies women use to influence men’s decision-making.
Materials/Preparation: Interview checklist based on relevant literature and discussions with field staff and partners familiar with the local context. Teams should also discuss the translations for “power” and “empowerment” to be used with respondents. If time permits, interviews should be piloted and adjusted before the study itself, and adapted for interviews with men. To prepare staff for research, teams in CARE Bangladesh also conducted mock interviews.
Participants: Men and women across age, household composition, ethnicity, and well-being groups in individual interviews.


This research uses semi-structured interviews and key personal events in women’s lives (i.e., education, dowry, marriage, work/income for women and their daughters) as the basis for discussing decision-making, women’s interpretation of events, and women’s use of power.

Sample questions from the Tanzania National Panel Survey:


  • How much education of self/spouse? Literacy?
    • Probe: Why did(n’t) you go to school?
  • Education of children? Education plans for boy children? And for girl children?
    • Probe: Barriers? Factors preventing education?
  • In your opinion, why is education important?
  • Without education, where do you see the future of your children? Why?
  • With education, where do you see the future of your children? Why?
  • In your family, how is the decision made whether children go to school or not?


  • When were you married and tell me about the circumstances (Your age and that of your spouse; who made the decision; bride-price).
  • What are you planning/what happened for your children? (same kind of ideas as above).
  • Probe: (if different) Why was this different?
  • Do you practice any form of birth control? What kind? Is this a collective decision with your husband/partner? Is it a personal decision?
  • [if 1st wife in polygamous marriage]: Were you consulted in the second marriage? How has your life changed since the arrival of a new wife?
  • [if polygamous man]: Did you consult your 1st wife in your second marriage?
  • [if inherited/widow]: Please share with us the circumstances after your husband’s death.
  • [if divorced/living with partner/abandoned/FHH]: Please share with us the circumstances of your ________. Probe about: social support, stigmatization, etc.

Gender roles in the household:

  • What is your responsibility inside the household (i.e., cooking, childcare, domestic duties, crop processing)? Was it the same for your mother or different?
  • What are the responsibilities of your spouse or partner? Was it the same for your father or different?


  • Mobility
    • How far away is your original family?
    • How often do you visit your birth village? And how often are you free to go?
    • [for women] What is the farthest you have been away from your home? And with whom?
    • Are you free to go anywhere or do you have to consult first? What are the circumstances (doctor, visiting family, visiting friends, markets)?
  • Assets and income
    • Are you a member of a Village Savings and Loan group? If yes, how much do you contribute on a weekly basis? Have you taken any loans and how did you spend the money?
    • [for women] Do you earn any cash income?
    • [for women] Do you own any assets? (livestock, goats, ducks, chickens)
    • [for women] Do you own land? Do you rent in land? Do you cultivate any land where the crop is yours? Is there any petty trading? (i.e., burning charcoal)
    • [for women] Do you ever have money of your own where you can decide how to spend it?


  • When have you felt most in control of your life? When have you felt least in control of your life?
  • Who is your role model? And why?

As preparation, a mock interview between a researcher and a field facilitator can be observed by the other facilitators, who then can carry out the interviews. For best responses to the interviews, women interview women and men interview men.

Unit of analysis:

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Limitations regarding estimating and interpreting:

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Propose Improvements