Developing indicators to assess women's empowerment in Vietnam

From mid-1999 to mid-2001, the authors carried out a qualitative study in rural Vietnam to explore relationships between gender equity and reproductive health. One of the study's objectives was to develop culturally appropriate indicators of women's empowerment, specific to the Vietnamese context. This paper describes the process of developing, testing, and refining the empowerment indicators, presents some of the findings, and discusses the methodological challenges entailed. The paper concludes by recommending a set of Vietnam-specific domains for assessing women's empowerment in social and economic spheres of life and in reproductive health.