(The Humanitarian Social Network)
Here is the actual article.
Just wanted to hear from others on here on what they think about it. It's not a long read but I found it to be a good read---looking beyond just indicators that donors and dev people need to meet for 'projects' and seeing what women themselves (in different contexts) value as empowerment. I had a hard time convincing people about that in Pakistan working in the Northern areas---have your indicators be based on what the women themselves say to you and realize that just being there for 18 months isn't going to do shit....for communities like that, for real change, you have to be supporting it MUCH longer and be realistic about it...
Also, anyone know about or participate in the 5 year multi-country study they mention in the piece? Sounds very cool.
"It also gave them an opportunity for leisure, something so vital to women's and girls' empowerment and so absent from development narratives."
I found this to be the most interesting part. Because every Women and Girls development initiative is all about creating or using "free time." Though the thing about most empowerment projects is that they are creating things for them to do (school, income generation projects, etc)... maybe because having a product is viewed as "having an impact." As if being a homemaker and mother isn't "something to do" or that having an income on my Weberian scale of success is a logical (and only?) metric.
And I think lots of development folks haven't really addressed "how to have free time" without "becoming a rampant, unsustainable consumer of things." Or maybe they have, and they disagree with me.
I'm a little worried about the TV thing. I get it. But it means that there needs to be some really awesome media stations and programming initiatives. This is the long haul, media will play a part... But given that the west can't hold on to its media to support informed participatory democracy -- what will that that mean for all this free time, and no real informed direction?
And Zehra, the point about being in it for the long haul is key -- American women's empowerment movement started well over 100 years ago... and it wasn't all pretty and stuff that I am proud of - some of it feels super misdirected in hindsight-- but that's social change... and sometimes you only get as far as you can.
I thought this was a great piece and was hoping it would inject some much-needed humility into the discussions around donors investing and empowering women (with mere 18-month programs, as you say). But I feel like the arguments didn't get the traction in the broader development or gender sphere I was hoping. I also think the title of this piece was a bit misleading. I found the authors more nuanced and important point to be that "empowerment" for women exists in unlikely cracks and corners, and in the success of building communities of women - almost regardless of what activities they are doing. Kind of just helping them do what they're already doing... this didn't seem like a big tear-down of aid and I liked that.
I was lucky enough to be in a workshop with a researcher from the 5 year multi-country study called "pathways of women's empowerment". It's a research project from IDS. I've got hold of a DVD with amazing films done by southern-based filmmakers to support the research. Here you have some details on dissemination events the researchers hosted in London: http://www.pathways-of-empowerment.org/Empowering_Women_and_Girls.html You have also there a link to the synthesis report & findings!
Hope it's not too late & you still find it useful.
Have a great weekend.
Thanks so much for this! I was just interested and not on a deadline per se... xx