USAID Women's Political Participation and Leadership WPPL Activity

As part of the USAID Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance Learning, Evaluation, and Research (DRG-LER) Activity, NORC is conducting the Women's Political Participation and Leadership (WPPL) Activity. Under this activity, NORC is developing methodological approaches to assess the state of women's political participation and leadership and the social and cultural constraints that inhibit them in countries where USAID works.

NORC developed a five-step WPPL Assessment Framework and associated quantitative and qualitative data collection tools, working closely with WPPL experts in academia and the practitioner community. Data collection tools include a general population household survey, politician survey, focus group discussion guides, and key informant interview guides.

The general population household survey contains several innovative elements. The first is a survey experiment testing whether women's presence in political decision-making increases the legitimacy of those decisions in the eyes of respondents. Second, we measure stereotypes of women and men politicians by asking sub-groups of respondents how well certain traits describe men, women, politicians, men politicians, and women politicians. We will examine which traits respondents perceive to be most associated with women and men politicians, and how perceptions vary by the respondents’ gender. Lastly, the survey measures respondents’ awareness of women politicians by examining the proportion of respondents that name a woman politician when asked to name and describe three political leaders in the country. We will also analyze how descriptions of women and women politicians differ, and the effect of respondent gender on their responses.

NORC is currently piloting the full WPPL Assessment Framework and data collection tools in Liberia, Nepal, and Guatemala. After piloting is complete, NORC and USAID will finalize the documents and make them available to USAID Missions across the globe. USAID will use the results from the WPPL Assessments to prioritize programming in areas that will have the greatest impact on WPPL and thereby increase the effectiveness and sustainability of programs to advance gender equality. Additionally, data produced from the WPPL Assessments will be comparable across countries, enabling a greater understanding of the global barriers to women's political participation and leadership.


Luis A. Camacho
Senior Research Scientist

Zoe Grotophorst
Research Scientist

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