Empowering Saudi women in higher educational institutions: Development and validation of a novel women empowerment scale

Awad M Al-Qahtani, Wafaa T Elgzar, Heba A Ibrahim, Hanan A El Sayed

Abstract

The government in Saudi Arabia in 2016 declared the necessity to overcome the ancestral oil-based economy and move towards a more diversified model. One of the significant steps to achieve this goal is to empower Saudi women, who form half of the Saudi population, to actively contribute their much-needed talents and skills to the Saudi labour market. However, there is a scarcity of existing scales to measure women empowerment in Saudi Arabia. The objective of this study was to construct and validate a reliable novel scale for the empowerment of Saudi women employed in higher education institutions. A methodological study was conducted from January to April 2020 among Saudi women academic and administrative staff (n=160) working in the higher educational institutions located in the northwestern and southern regions of Saudi Arabia. The tool underwent content and face validity as well as factor analyses. Internal consistency was analyzed through Cronbach's alpha and Pearson correlation coefficient. The data analysis was conducted using IBM SPSS version 23. A Cronbach's alpha value of 0.94 was obtained in reliability analysis. The results showed that the total women empowerment scale had an exceptional internal consistency (>9). The three domains of the scale and total woman empowerment scale had a score close to 1, indicating a high Intraclass Correlation Coefficient, and showed a high similarity between values at the second and third measurements. Self-esteem and self-efficacy subscales were the most important indicators of women's' personal empowerment. Furthermore, a highly positive correlation (p<0.01) was found between the total domains of empowerment scale. A novel women empowerment tool was developed and validated in Saudi women working as academic and administrative staff. This can serve as a reliable tool to measure women's empowerment in higher education institutions. It will eventually enable the formulation of strategies that facilitate women's empowerment and pave the path for a strong foundation for the development of the country. (Afr J Reprod Health 2021; 25[1s]:13-25).

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