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Survey-based Women’s emPowERment Index (SWPER)

The Survey-based Women’s emPowERment Index (SWPER) is an index based on nationally representative and publically available Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data from African countries to enable within-country and between-country comparisons, as well as time trend analyses.

Developed by:

Fernanda Eweling, John W Lynch, Cesar G Victora, Anouka van Eerdewijk, Marcelo Tyszler, Aluisio J D Barros

Measure domains:

Attitude to Violence

Social Independence

Decision Making


Items and subscales:

15 items

3 subscales


Outcomes predicted:

Modern contraceptive use

Institutional delivery

Prevalence of stunting- last born child

Study population(s):

Most recent DHS data on partered women, ages 15-49, from 34 African countries

Additional information:

Analyzed correlations with the Gender and Development Index for external validation

Measure validated?:


Link(s) to Validation Study and/or Measure:

Citation of original article

Get citation
Ewerling, F., Lynch, J. W., Victora, V. G., van Eerdewijk, A., Tyszler, M., & Barros, A. J. D. (2017). The SWPER index for women’s empowerment in Africa: Development and validation of an index based on survey data. The Lancet Global Health, 5(9), e916–e923. doi: