Women in Developing Countries: Assessing Strategies for Empowerment

Women in Developing Countries: Assessing Strategies for Empowerment

Women in Developing Countries: Assessing Strategies for Empowerment

Women in Developing Countries: Assessing Strategies for Empowerment

Synopsis

For decades, researchers have examined the impact of development programmes on women. This work explores empowerment efforts in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

Excerpt

Since the 1970s, researchers and policymakers have examined the impact of development on women in developing countries. Ester Boserup's pathbreaking 1970 study inspired academics and practitioners to address the problems of gender discrimination that exist in the development process. With such impetus, many studies have demonstrated the extent of gender discrimination in development. These efforts have resulted in policy changes at local, national, and international levels to ensure more gender equity. Women's organizations are empowering women in developing countries to play a more active role in the development process. Women are adopting strategies to confront discrimination and deprivation in the workplace, community, and society. Consequently, the question of how development policies affect women's control of resources and decisionmaking capacity has initiated great interest in empowerment studies.

EMPOWERMENT AND DISEMPOWERMENT

Empowerment is a widely used but complex and contentious concept. Since the 1970s, the feminist literature and the gender and development (GAD) discourse have shed considerable light on the concept of empowerment. The dialogue has addressed several important questions. What constitutes empowerment? Who empowers whom? What are the goals and strategies of empowerment as well as the process of disempowerment?

To be sure, the notion of empowerment is multifaceted, a process eluding simple definition. Perhaps a helpful way of organizing the literature would be to examine empowerment as a process and as an outcome. Even . . .

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