Meaning of Empowerment
Let’s Recap What ‘Power’ Is
Now let us look at this concept of empowerment. In the Gender module, we looked at “power.” The understanding of power is important in order to understand empowerment. So, let’s recap. Power, we said, is the capacity or ability to take actions freely and independently, and control or influence others. In human societies, power is derived from control over resources and ideology, where the controllers become the decision makers and regulators of families, communities, and cultures.
In order to move towards gender equality, we have to empower that gender, which is disempowered, that is, women and girls.
What Changes Does Women’s Empowerment Require?
Women’s empowerment, therefore, would require challenging and changing patriarchal thinking and structures, it will require giving women control over resources, and bringing women into decision-making roles in all institutions. According to me, empowerment of women will improve our lives only if our notion of power is different from the present notion of power. This is an important point.
Redefining ‘Power’ is Key to Empowerment…
Empowerment for us cannot mean power over others and the power to control more than our share; it should mean power to be, power to control our own greed, avarice, our violence inside us; it should mean power to nurture, to heal, to care for others; and should mean power to fight for justice, ethics, morality; power to achieve inner growth leading to wisdom and compassion. Power should also mean the ability to exercise one’s freedoms, make one’s own choices, and have a voice and make it heard.