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Indian Journal of Federal Studies
(Vol.XIII, No.1, 2012)

ISSN No. 0976-8408

Discourses on Empowerment 

- Joya Bhattacharya


To understand and comprehend empowerment in all its complexity requires a more nuanced analysis of power. In its most generic sense, it implies a change in power relation, but it is not simply the ability to exert power over people and resources. It involves the exercise rather than the mere possession of power. Empowerment cannot transcend power relations, it is enmeshed in relations of power at all levels of society. Empowerment is a process whereby women and men experience as well as challenge and subvert power relations, but it takes place in institutional material and discursive contexts. Empowerment has to begin from awareness building and organising women in a non-directive, open-ended strategy in such a way that they are capable of electing their own priorities. Empowerment allows women to gain access to new world of knowledge, which can then help them to make informed choices in both their private and public lives. The normative argument for bringing women into positions the assessment of structural barriers that have historically marginalised women in politics, society, and the economy. To bring women into the political decision making bodies corresponds with Rowland's notion of women moving into positions of 'power over' as being one part of women's empowerment. 

[Page No. 62 - 76]





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