Empowerment: A Journey not a Destination
We are pleased to announce the launch of 'Empowerment: A Journey not a Destination'. This Pathways synthesis report presents the findings and key messages from our research from 59 projects in 15 countries over 5 years.
Empowerment: A Journey not a Destination
(pdf file 3 MB)
1 What is empowering to one woman is not necessarily empowering to another: understanding empowerment needs to begin from women’s own experiences, rather than focus on a predictable set of outcomes.
Examples from our research include: Religion and Women in Bangladesh and Changes and Continuity in Women's Everyday Lives in Ghana
2 Across very different contexts, women’s ability to exercise voice and strategic forms of control over their lives is linked to being able to generate regular and independent sources of income.
Examples from our research include: Paid Work and Women's Empowerment and Gendered Impacts of BRAC and WFW Microfinance Programming on Hazara Women in Afghanistan
3 Relationships lie at the heart of women’s empowerment – women’s families, partners, friends and colleagues, and women’s organisations, networks and coalitions can be crucial in supporting and enabling women’s pathways of empowerment.
Examples from our research include: Review of Strategic Approaches to Building Constituencies by Women's Organisations and Feminist Activists in Global Policy Organisations
4 Sexuality is a vital but neglected dimension of women’s empowerment. Positive approaches to sexuality can be an important driver of change in women’s lives.
Examples from our research include: Unmarried in Palestine: Dynamics and Discourses of Choice, Embodiment, Responsibility, Power and Survival in the Lives of Single Palestinian Women and Exploring Positive Approaches to Sexuality
5 Understanding women’s empowerment calls for rigorous and imaginative combinations of research methodologies and methods. Participatory research can make a powerful contribution to both understanding and action.
Examples from our research include: Changing Times, Changing Lives: Women's Empowerment through Generations in Bahia, Brazil, Digital Storytelling and our survey work
6 Efforts to promote women’s empowerment need to do more than give individual women economic or political opportunities. They need to tackle deeper-rooted structural constraints that perpetuate inequalities.
Examples from our research include: Empowering Domestic Work: The Organising of Domestic Workers in Brazil
7 Policies and laws that affirm women’s rights and open up pathways for women’s empowerment are critically important. But they are not in themselves sufficient to change women’s lives.
Examples from our research include: Family Courts in Egypt: An Exit from Marriage on a Pathway to Empowerment? and Building Constituencies for Political Reform: Quotas as an Instrument of Change
8 Women’s organising is vital for sustainable change.
Examples from our research include: Women and Local Governance in Sierra Leone and Review of Strategic Approaches to Building Constituencies by Women's Organisations
9 There is no one-size-fits-all approach to women’s empowerment. Global institutions would benefit from listening more to local women and doing more to support existing local agendas for women’s empowerment.
Examples from our research include: Mobilising Resources for Women's Organisations and Tracing and Measuring Empowerment and Change in Women’s Lives
10 Fostering public engagement and debate is essential to making policies that work for women’s empowerment and gender equality. The media and popular culture have a vital role to play in this.
Examples from our research include: Talking Empowerment in Plain Arabic and Changing Representations of Women in Popular Culture
11 Recognising and supporting those within the state who are responsible for the implementation of women’s empowerment interventions is crucial; front-line workers can be vital agents of change.
12 Changing attitudes and values is as important to bringing about women’s empowerment as changing women’s material circumstances and political opportunities.