News Item

The Global Hub research includes a one year project to critically review conceptual assumptions about women’s empowerment that are being globally developed and communicated and to examine the relation between these assumptions and evolving international policy and practice. Andrea Cornwall and Rosalind Eyben are leading this project that has three main elements (1) analysis of documentation (2) semi-structured interviews (3) two day opportunity to reflect for policy actors, practitioners and researchers.

The principal audience for this research are those working pursuing a social transformation agenda in international development policy arenas – in civil society networks, inside governments, in international development agencies, academia or in the media. Through a dialogue concerning the multiple and diverse meanings of empowerment we hope to stimulate individual and organisational questioning about the real world implications for women’s lives when certain meanings becoming dominant. What pathways are opened up and which ones might be closed down?

The researchers held a conference for the project at Dunford House, Sussex from 11-12 February 2008, to which a number of academics, activists and policy-related actors were invited.

The aim was to:

map out different meanings of empowerment as used in the world of international development and explore the implications

share how we ourselves use ‘empowerment’ in our professional practice

look for different threads (‘solidarity’, ‘autonomy’, ‘choice’. ‘agency’, ‘collective action’ etc) of how we represent empowerment and the implications for policy practice from possible different combinations of these threads

consider how as individuals, and in our organisations and networks, we handle in our day to day practice possible dissonances and contradictions between these multiple threads of empowerment

ask what role have international development policy actors and institutions played in making empowerment a hollow buzzword and exploring how we could encourage these institutions to rearticulate the concept in ways that advance justice and wellbeing

identify specific opportunities in global policy spaces for putting power back into empowerment.

Being Strategic about the Meanings of Women's Empowerment - IDS News

Taking on Tesco: Women and Economy in a Globalised World - Open Democracy Blog from the Conference


Featured Research Projects