Concepts, Research, Policy
Edited by Sylvia Chant
Chapter 95: Methodologies for Evaluating Women’s Empowerment in Poverty Alleviation Programmes: Illustrations from Paraguay and Honduras
Yoko Fujikake It is frequently emphasised that the key to women’s empowerment is to increase their self-reliance by bolstering their capacity to make choices, to gain confidence through selfdetermination, and to exercise control over both material and non-material resources. It is also generally stressed that empowerment is a process rather than an ‘end state’ (see for example, Fujikake, 2008; Kabeer, 1999; Rowlands, 1997; also Bali Swain, Chapter 91, this volume; Bibars, Chapter 89, this volume). The recent focus on empowerment is an important part of the neoliberal transformation taking place around the world as nations attempt to downsize their welfare bureaucracies and reinvent themselves as streamlined and efficient. Along with economic liberalisation, austerity programmes, privatisation and participatory governance, empowerment is now an accepted part of development orthodoxy (Sharma, 2008: xvi). However, the term ‘empowerment’ was not coined by international financial institutions (IFIs) such as the World Bank. The term actually emerged from the NonGovernmental Organisation (NGO) Forum of the Second World Conference on Women at Copenhagen in 1980. Yet while in the early stages ‘empowerment’ was used mainly by feminist NGOs, within a decade it had become common parlance in international institutions and national government organisations. In 1995 the Beijing Platform For Action (BPFA), adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women, was cast as an ‘agenda for women’s empowerment’. In light of elevated interest in empowerment issues today, the term empowerment is widely used by a range of different bodies from women’s organisations and NGOs, to governments, and bilateral...
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