• Non-ICIMOD publication


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Measuring gender-transformative change: A review of literature and promising practices

  • Hillenbrand, E.
  • Karim, N.
  • Mohanraj, P.
  • Wu, D.
  • Summary
This mainstream framing edits out the political processes of grassroots mobilization of women and sidelines the feminist values of building women’s awareness and capacities to challenge patriarchal structures and relations on their own terms. Gender-transformative approaches to development, in contrast, hold a conceptualization of empowerment that embraces its feminist roots. Gender-transformative change and processes of empowerment are ultimately about transforming unequal power relations and the structures and norms (both visible and invisible) that uphold them. Within this framing, understanding and measuring changes in empowerment entails an examination of the multiple manifestations of power and how they interact to create unequal outcomes. In this paper, we refer to four dimensions of power. Power over—defined as control over people, resources and others’ lives—is the most commonly addressed form of power. Power to act and to realize one’s aspirations is directly related to the agency dimension of empowerment and is frequently measured in terms of individual skills, capacities and self-confidence. Power within refers to a person’s or group’s sense of self-worth, self- awareness, self-knowledge and aspirations, which are also related to agency and shaped by social norms and gendered institutions. Power with involves collaborative and collective power with others through mutual support, collaboration, recognition and respect for differences. This can take place at multiple levels, from household and intimate relationships to cooperatives and collectives, as well as broader-level coalitions and movements for change.