Understanding what works to promote, support and sustain ‘women’s empowerment’ calls for a greater appreciation of what the term means to different policy actors in different contexts. In Ghana, there is a strong commitment to women’s empowerment from government administrative officials, particularly female staff. However, there appears to be limited knowledge about the dimensions, pathways and strategies for women’s empowerment within government and the bureaucracy. Officials often base their interventions on a desire to address women’s individual situations rather than on analysis of the deeper-rooted structural constraints that women face, and remedies that might address them. For instance, policies and programmes are promoted that seek to broaden individual women’s access to credit or education, but do not address the role that women’s organizing and collective action might play in addressing some of the underlying causes of disempowerment.