Displaying items 1 - 15 of 39 in total
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    'A Femocrat just doing my Job': Working within the State to Advance Women's Empowerment in Ghana

    Following the round of UN Conferences on Women from the 1970s to the 1990s, many states in the developing world established national machineries to first 'integrate women into development', and later to spearhead the task of gender mainstreaming adopted in the Beijing Platform for Action.  …

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    Beijing +15 From Hopes To Disappointment And Non-Accountability

    Lydia Alpı´zar Dura´n was invited to address the annual session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). She shares her reflections as someone who joined the women’s movement in the midst of the Beijing preparations as a youth activist. She discusses the importance of the development community focusing on the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and going beyond the Millennium Development Goals. She presents key insights from the work on advancing women’s rights and gender equality over the last 15 years along with a review of some relevant current trends and concludes with a set of action-oriented recommendations. …

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    Challenging Empowerment

    McFadden argues that societies in the South have been approached from a particular research gaze that is derived from a liberal epistemology that focuses on the individual; it simplifies women’s lives and is both methodologically and politically inadequate and deeply problematic. Empowerment as a notion is, too, embedded in liberal and neo-liberal worldviews and is ideologically flawed. With this liberal and neo-liberal development discourse in mind, McFadden looks at empowerment, MDGs, gender and human rights, and citizenship, entitlement and rights and analyses how they are embedded in this ideology. …

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    Communicating Empowerment: Countering The Cardboard Woman

    Tessa Lewin draws on the work done by the Pathways of Women’s Empowerment Research and Communications Consortium from 2007 to date. She explores both the broad approach to communicating empowerment and highlights the work of various projects undertaken. …

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    Critical Perspectives On Empowerment

    In this article, Petchesky questions the definition of empowerment, asking who is doing the empowerment and based on what agenda. She addresses disempowerment created by structural militarization, self-determined self-empowerment, and stresses the need for a nuanced and contextualized sense of gender to address power and change, as well as the need to go beyond gender and break the divides between people and nature and North and South. …

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    Development As If Gender Matters

    Wendy Harcourt highlights the most interesting and contentious issues to emerge during a conversation held among 25 people from key women’s networks, UN agencies, research institutions and think tanks at the 54th Commission of the Status of Women (CSW) in New York March 2010. Using charterhouse rules, the dialogue was an attempt to hold a new kind of conversation in the CSW space. The participants candidly held up to scrutiny the key concepts of gender and empowerment in the context of the new development institutions. …

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    Discourses On Women's Empowerment In Ghana

    Successive post-independence governments have embraced women’s empowerment in one form or another, either because of their own ideological positioning, or because of demands by their ‘donor friends/partners’ and/or organized domestic groups and NGOs. What has emerged is a varied landscape on women’s rights and empowerment work comprising the state bureaucracy, multilateral and bilateral agencies, NGOs, and women’s rights organisations, with their accompanying discourses. In the Ghanaian context, Nana Akua Anyidoho and Takyiwaa Manuh look at what the discourses of empowerment highlight, ignore or occlude, the convergences and divergences among them, and how they speak to or accord with the lived realities of the majority of Ghanaian women. Given that the policy landscape in Ghana is highly influenced by donors, they ask which discourses dominate, and how are they used for improving women’s lives in ways that are meaningful to them. …

  • Archive Resource

    Discourses On Women's Empowerment In Ghana

    Successive post-independence governments have embraced women’s empowerment in one form or another, either because of their own ideological positioning, or because of demands by their ‘donor friends/partners’ and/or organized domestic groups and NGOs. What has emerged is a varied landscape on women’s rights and empowerment work comprising the state bureaucracy, multilateral and bilateral agencies, NGOs, and women’s rights organisations, with their accompanying discourses. In the Ghanaian context, Nana Akua Anyidoho and Takyiwaa Manuh look at what the discourses of empowerment highlight, ignore or occlude, the convergences and divergences among them, and how they speak to or accord with the lived realities of the majority of Ghanaian women. Given that the policy landscape in Ghana is highly influenced by donors, they ask which discourses dominate, and how are they used for improving women’s lives in ways that are meaningful to them. …

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    Economics, Assets And Empowerment

    Grown discusses her work on the Gender Analysis Programme on Economics at American University and its connection between teaching and research. She elaborates on her project with colleagues to conduct a household survey to gather sex- disaggregated information on physical and financial asset ownership and control, and to develop for designers and implementers of household surveys a parsimonious set of questions that can be added to every single household survey. The survey will show that this information can be collected at low cost and that it is important for public policy. She hopes that the survey will show that women own more assets than is commonly perceived to be the case, although ownership on its own is not enough for true empowerment. …

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    Editorial: Lady Gaga Meets Ban Ki-Moon'

    In this article, Harcourt argues that conventional development approaches to gender and empowerment are constraining and unimaginative, and do not foster lively, authentic debate. Instead, in development, people tend to limit their definitions of gender and empowerment to acceptable terms to avoid conflict or funding cuts. She looks at pop culture that celebrates and sells images of empowered women (Lady Gaga in particular) and compares this to the depoliticized notion of ‘empowerment’ in development, and suggests that development practitioners need to reach out further than the constraining environment of development and in the process change development itself. Harcourt points to new media and communications technologies that can be harnessed to create spaces and engage a variety of people with development debates and to make development more adventurous and creative, arguing that doing so would do much to help us get out of discourses of professionalism that create institutions afraid to open up because they fear argument and difference. …

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    Emancipation And Its Failures

    In this reflection on ‘empowerment’, Taylor looks at how development proponents have instrumentalised women’s role in development and poverty reduction, arguing that development should be about access to rights and freedoms. She points out that empowerment as a concept needs to be rethought – that real change needs to start with a democracy and human rights culture, a foundation of equal access to all the amenities of public life. Women’s visibility in work and politics is good, but is not the structural change that is needed because it doesn’t address power. She looks at human development as a valuable approach for women’s empowerment, and argues that the realization of women’s human rights into reality is necessary for empowerment. …

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    Empowerment And Transgender

    In this article, Schwenke reflects on women’s empowerment from a trans perspective, arguing for the need to include morals in development discourse and to navigate and be guided by moral values in order to think critically and reflectively, and to make a persuasive justification based on moral sensibilities allows us to evaluate our priorities, confront the status quo, and expand our human agency. Empowerment is rooted in societal acceptance of variant gender identities, and transformation of empowerment begins with a change in gender assumptions – a dialogue in which trans people have a unique perspective and can be extremely valuable. She stresses the importance of ‘human’ in human development and as a precursor to women’s empowerment. …

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    Empowerment As Change

    In this article, Connell argues that true empowerment of women requires radical institutional change – a democratizing of institutions. She reflects on MGD3’s claim that development requires gender equality, arguing that much development is done with the subordination of women. She discusses the rhetoric of empowerment as being politically effective but also problematic in its simplification of the category of women, and says that in order for progress in women’s empowerment and for gender justice, men need to be involved. She argues that any worthwhile concept of development must involve communities, institutions and populations as well as institutions, and must have a sense of limits and justice. …

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    Empowerment As Resistance: Conceptualising Palestinian Women's Empowerment

    Eileen Kuttab contextualizes empowerment historically in Palestinian practices of mobilisation and resistance. She draws on interviews and focus group discussions to explore the meanings the term has come to acquire in the Palestinian context. Kuttab examines alternative ways of understanding empowerment that go beyond instrumentalism to recapture some of the original associations the term had with power and resistance. …

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    Empowerment For Grassroots Women

    Mwaura-Muiru highlights the need for the women’s movement and donors to work towards and support woman-led (especially poor woman-led) transformation. Collective organizing and social networks is a means of empowerment that allows women to respond to challenges, but grassroots organizing is being threatened by social and macro economic models of development. The women’s movement’s renewed interest in grassroots women’s coping strategies could potentially be a huge step forward for the women’s movement, but, Mwaura-Muiru argues, the views of the less privileged should be seen as the critical voice in the design of appropriate interventions. She critiques Gender and Development as being too focussed on technical and professional training, which continues to marginalize poor women, and argues that there is a need to rethink development and women’s empowerment, and stresses that strategies towards women’s empowerment need to consider grassroots women’s needs and diversity. …