The Population Council, under the Evidence Project, has created a compendium of gender- and power-related scales used in social health, and behavioral science research. It is a “living” database, which we will continue to grow and expand, but initial entries — over 600 unique scales, many tested in multiple settings — come primarily from the areas of sexual and reproductive health, family planning, STIs/HIV, and intimate partner violence (IPV). The database includes multi-item scales and single-item questions (collectively referred to as ‘scales’ for consistency) that reflect gender norms, personal views or beliefs about gender roles and norms, related feelings or emotions, gender role stress, gendered-dynamics, power and control in relationships, and individual-level agency and self-efficacy, among others. The motivation behind the database is to facilitate the identification of validated scales for use in a given population or setting, foster exchange and innovation in the development of gender and power measures, and serve as a platform for making new scales more widely accessible.
How can the database be used?
The Gender and Power Metrics database provides information on the settings and populations where gender and power scales have been implemented, references for the published articles, as well as extracted information on scale psychometric properties and, where available, the questions that comprise the scale. In cases where gender or power scales were measured in association with family planning or IPV outcomes, the database provides additional information regarding the quantitative association between both constructs. The primary audience is researchers and program staff in the health, social and behavioral sciences with some experience with monitoring and evaluation and/or measurement.
The Gender and Power Metrics database allows filtering and sorting to identify:
- Scales currently in use and the broad category of scale (e.g., those related to gender norms, individual views or beliefs about gender roles/norms, gender-related power dynamics (in relationships or otherwise), self-efficacy for safer sex negotiation, or other aspects of relationships indicative of gendered power dynamics (relationship quality, trust, level of intimacy, etc.)
- Geographic locations and populations where specific scales have been implemented
- The reliability and validity of scales used both within and across settings/populations (to view these, click on the green “+” button by the scale name)
- Scales that have been measured against family planning, intimate partner violence and other sexual and reproductive health/HIV outcomes and the quantitative association (to view the study’s reported quantitative association between both constructs, click on the specified outcome in the Measured Outcomes column)
Search results can be exported as Excel or CSV files.
Additionally, for those studies that have made some or all the questions that comprise their scales available, that information can be viewed by clicking “full” or “partial” in the Availability column.
What types of scales are included?
An index of included scales can be found here. Scales are classified into one or more of the following overarching categories. As scales sometimes include questions from different categories, some scales are coded with multiple categories, but if the majority of questions fall under one category just that category is used:
|I. Views on gender roles and norms|
|Views on gender roles and norms in general||Attitudes or beliefs about gender roles and norms in general, rather than related to the respondent’s own experiences or behavior. E.g., “To be a man, you need to be tough” or “Women should be protected by men”|
|Acceptance of IPV||Subset of views on gender roles and norms related to intimate partner violence (IPV), such as the endorsement of wife beating|
|Gender hostile beliefs||Subset of views on gender roles and norms that focus on sexism, discrimination or hostility related to gender|
|Gender norms in community, among peers or other referent group||Community-level or peer beliefs about gender roles/norms as perceived by the respondent. E.g., “Most people in my community think a boy can assault a girl” or “Most of my friends approve of a boy assaulting a girl”|
|Personal adherence to gender roles and norms||Personal attitudes, beliefs, views or behavioral / emotional expectations about adherence to gender roles and norms. E.g., “I would never approve of my daughter getting a job”; “I would be outraged if my wife/partner asked me to use a condom”|
|II. Gender-dynamics related to power and control|
|Relationship power/control||Scales related to power, control or autonomy in the context of a sexual or spousal relationship|
|Personal power/control||Beliefs about one’s individual power, control or autonomy (outside of the context of a specific sexual or romantic relationship)|
|Power/control at other levels||Scales related to personal power, control or autonomy in a specific context that is not a relationship (e.g., within a school or institution)|
|III. Self-efficacy||One’s self-efficacy to enact a safer sex behavior and overcome potential barriers by a partner. E.g., self-efficacy to negotiate condom use with a partner|
|IV. Relationship- other||Other aspects of sexual or spousal relationships that indirectly reflect gender-related power/ control dynamics, including: relationship quality (e.g., degree respondent loves or fears partner), level of intimacy/investment in relationship, sexual communication within the relationship|
|V. Unclassified||Scale could not be classified due to lack of sufficient scale description and/or lack of inclusion of scale items|
How were the initial scales identified?
Articles were identified using key term searches of five electronic databases: Pubmed, EconLit, SocIndex, POPLine and Women’s Studies International. Electronic searches were supplemented by hand searches of specific journals (e.g., Gender and Development, Studies in Family Planning, Culture, Health and Sexuality) and conference paper repositories for relevant titles.
Reflecting the parameters of the original study, the initial articles in the database represent studies that were: (1) published between 2000 and 2015, (2) in English, (3) included participants of reproductive age (broadly defined as ages 10 to 49), and (4) included psychometric information on scale properties related to a gender scale, and/or (5) measured an association between a gender scale and a sexual and reproductive health, family planning, HIV or intimate partner violence outcome. Scales identified from this initial search reflected heterosexual relationships only. Articles were excluded if they were unpublished or presented qualitative results only. Moving forward, we are expanding beyond these criteria.
Finally, we note that this database does not represent all existing gender and power scales. We will continue to update the database and expand inclusion criteria. To submit scales to the database, please email us.