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cultures of ability

alesnick's picture


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Article about a Global Health Initiative defining "empowerment

This "Global Health Intiative" is part of a larger program called "Global Sustainability and Resillence Program"

I think it helps further make the distinction between deficit and desire based. 

“Everyone uses the word ‘empowerment,’” said the UN Foundation’s Alaka Basu at the Wilson Center on October 10. “It’s now such an overused word. You are empowered if you have a choice of 10 different shampoos in the grocery store; you are empowered if you have 100 kinds of cereals to buy; you are empowered by virtually anyone wanting to sell you something.”

Basu argues in her research that effective gender equality initiatives need to go “beyond that way of looking at empowerment and ask, ‘what is meaningful empowerment?’”

Purely instrumental" empowerment or economic empowerment initiatives are problematic. Meaningful empowerment means changing ideologies and attitudes. 

“Ideological change really requires you to question the patriarchy,” said Basu, “and here it appears a lot of these so-called empowering factors aren’t quite as effective as we think they are.” This does not mean there is no place for economic empowerment initiatives, she argued, but rather there ought to be greater consideration regarding their implementation.