It appears that an almost unquestioned development pathway for achieving gender equity and women's empowerment has taken centre stage in mainstream development. This pathway focuses on economic outcomes that are assumed to be achieved by increasing women's access to material things, including cash income, loans, physical assets, and to markets. Gender equity indicators, which measure progress towards these outcomes, cannot escape reinforcing them. We argue that far from being neutral, indicators are embedded in political and ideological agendas that serve as guides to the appropriate conduct of those whose performance or behaviour is being measured. Drawing on participatory feminist, diverse economies and strengths based approaches, we outline a research methodology for developing community‐based indicators that recognises women's and men's participation and relationships in all spheres of life, including the ‘non‐economic’. If indicators are grounded in local meanings and realities, we propose that community members can use them to identify aspirational goals for gender equity, and measure progress towards these goals.