This paper sets out fromthe understanding that empowerment is a process by which those who have been denied power gain power, in particular the ability to make strategic life choices. For women, these could be the capacity to choose a marriage partner, a livelihood, or whether or not to have children. For this power to come about, three interrelated dimensions are needed: access to and control of resources; agency (the ability to use these resources to bring about new opportunities) and achievements (the attainment of new social outcomes). Empowerment, therefore, is both a process and an end result. This understanding differs greatly from instrumentalist interpretations which view empowerment purely in terms of measurable outcomes. Instrumentalist interpretations are problematic because they convey the belief that social change can be predicted and prescribed in a cause-and-effect way and undermine the notion that women’s empowerment should be about the ability of women to make self-determined choices. Third World countries are increasingly forced to rely on internal resource mobilization to make up for sharp reductions in external aid and resources. Alongside this, development processes are often indifferent to the interests and needs of the poor. In this scenario, women’s contributions as workers and as managers of human welfare-are central to the ability of households, communities, and nations to tackle the resulting crisis. However, women suffer from decreased access to resources and increased demands on their labor and time. If human survival is the world’s most pressing problem, and if women are crucial to that survival, then the empowerment of women is essential for the emergence of new, creative, and cooperative solutions. As part of the empowerment process, feminism and collective action are fundamental but feminism must not be monolithic in its issues, goals, and strategies, since it should constitute the political expression of the concerns and interests of women from different regions, classes, nationalities, and ethnic backgrounds. There is and must be a diversity of feminisms, responsive to the different needs and concerns of different women and defined by women for themselves. The underlying foundation to this diversity is the common opposition to gender oppression and other forms of domination. In the ongoing United Nations debate on human rights and sexuality, sexual rights have been conceptualizedin largely negative ways in relation to issues of protection against pregnancy, rape, disease, and violence. This paper calls for an inclusion of more positive aspects of sexual rights.
Cite this article:
Rida Bashir. Speechless. Research Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences. 2021; 12(2):108-4. doi: 10.52711/2321-5828.2021.00016
Rida Bashir. Speechless. Research Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences. 2021; 12(2):108-4. doi: 10.52711/2321-5828.2021.00016 Available on: https://rjhssonline.com/AbstractView.aspx?PID=2021-12-2-8