Rethinking Empowerment: Gender and Development in a Global/Local World

By Jane L. Parpart; Shirin M. Rai et al. | Go to book overview

14
Concluding thoughts on (em)powerment, gender and development
Kathleen Staudt, Shirin M. Rai and Jane L. Parpart

This volume is about power, in its multiple meanings, and about shifts in gender power relations. As we have learned from all the contributors, this is no simple topic to understand or document. Power relations are deep, but fluid and elusive; power relations change, and from contributors to this volume, it appears that women have gained some leverage in these shifts through organizing, earnings, internal strength, awareness, policies and laws that legitimize their rights and claims. We learn in this volume that power shifts involve changes in processes – in how people relate to one another – and in the concrete outcomes that result from these processes.

Throughout the volume, we have moved from global to national to local, so local as to include migrants' personal narratives. Contributors moved across the boundaries of nation, jurisdiction and cyberspace. Power relations can hardly be understood without grounding knowledge in the personal and local while at the same time recognizing how global forces shape these relations. In the broadest brush overview, these chapters affirm that institutional and male power over women is still formidable, but that women's power within gets expressed in individual negotiation and agency as well as in collective organizations that challenge discourse, interpretation and the status quo. The power to make change as individuals, in groups and with coalitions, is thereby enhanced. Yet the chapters illustrate more change in process than in outcomes. Ultimately, gender justice should provide concrete results, whether getting there is quiet and subtle or noisy and confrontational. Several chapters offer analyses of gendered power relations that strengthened men's voices and benefits, in the name of women's empowerment.


Contextualizing chapters: challenges ahead

In the introduction, we began with the all-too-comfortable word 'empowerment'. Disparate people use this terminology, from local grassroots activists to officials, crafting their schemes and dreams with and upon people. The empowerment word has a noble history, with power, after all, at its core. Only in the last decade has empowerment talk appeared in official discourse. In international organizations, empowerment has become the new adjective that embellishes

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Rethinking Empowerment: Gender and Development in a Global/Local World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Routledge/Warwick Studies in Globalisation ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Contributors xi
  • Acknowledgements xv
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • Part I - Theory and Praxis 1
  • 1 - An Introduction 3
  • References 18
  • 2 - Education as a Means for Empowering Women 22
  • References 36
  • Part II - Women's Empowerment in a Global World 39
  • 3 - The Janus Effect 41
  • Notes 57
  • References 58
  • 4 - Toward Empowerment 61
  • Notes 75
  • References 76
  • 5 - Rethinking Technoagency 79
  • References 92
  • Part III - The Nation State, Politics and Women's Empowerment 95
  • 6 - Beyond Official Empowerment Discourse 97
  • References 110
  • 7 - Women's Mobilization in Chile and Turkey 112
  • Notes 127
  • References 129
  • 8 - The Quota Debate in India 133
  • References 145
  • 9 - The Case for Female Peasants in India 147
  • Notes 158
  • References 159
  • Part IV - The Local/Global, Development and Women's Empowerment 163
  • 10 - The Pra Approach 165
  • References 178
  • 11 - Examples from Kenya and Cameroon 182
  • References 197
  • 12 - Depoliticizing Empowerment in a Tanzanian Family Planning Project 199
  • Notes 213
  • References 215
  • 13 - Informal Politics, Grassroots Ngos and Women's Empowerment in the Slums of Bombay 218
  • Notes 232
  • References 234
  • Part V - Conclusion 237
  • 14 - Concluding Thoughts on (em)powerment, Gender and Development 239
  • Index 245
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