Introduction: Negotiating Empowerment

Volume 47 Number 1A
Published: March 14, 2016

This introductory article draws out some of the dimensions and dilemmas around women’s empowerment that are highlighted in the articles in this IDS Bulletin: the choices, the negotiations, the narratives and above all, the context of women’s lived experience. In doing so, we show that empowerment is a complex process that requires more than the quick and easy solutions often offered by development agencies. Much of the significant change happening in women’s lives takes place outside of the range of these conventional interventions. In conclusion, we suggest that for development agencies to really support women’s empowerment requires greater engagement with changing structures rather than accommodating women within the inequitable existing order, and a much deeper understanding of what makes change happen in their lives.


  • Gender
  • Empowerment
  • Poverty
  • Feminism
From Issue: Vol. 47 No. 1A (2016) | Connecting Perspectives on Women’s Empowerment