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Empowerment as Resistance: Conceptualizing Palestinian women's empowerment



Eileen Kuttab contextualizes empowerment historically in Palestinian practices of mobilization and resistance. She draws on interviews and focus group discussions to explore the meanings the term has come to acquire in the Palestinian context. Kuttab examines alternative ways of understanding empowerment that go beyond instrumentalism to recapture some of the original associations the term had with power and resistance.
Local/Global Encounters
Empowerment as Resistance: Conceptualizing
Palestinian women’s empowerment
EILEEN KUTTAB ABSTRACT Eileen Kuttab contextualizes empowerment historically
in Palestinian practices of mobilization and resistance. She draws on
interviews and focus group discussions to explore the meanings the
term has come to acquire in the Palestinian context. Kuttab examines
alternative ways of understanding empowerment that go beyond
instrumentalism to recapture some of the original associations the
term had with power and resistance.
KEYWORDS struggle; gender; identity; collective; alternatives;
political consciousness
Interpreting the concept of women’s empowerment in the context of the Occupied
Palestinian Territories (OPT) calls for an unconventional and critical approach. The
drastic changes of the last two decades on the global economy and its impact on the
social and economic structures have reproduced the concept of empowerment within
a neo-liberal paradigm that emphasizes the Women in Development (WID) approach
(Young, 1993). Hijacking its original emancipatory meaning and intent, international
institutions like the World Bank, UN organizations and the donor community have
taken up the term and used it to unify and mainstream, along with their own financial
philosophy and conditions (Kuttab, 2008). Although in the 1970s the concept was
explicitly used to frame and facilitate the struggle for social justice and womens
equality through transformation of economic, social and political structures,todayitis
often narrowly interpreted as ‘participation in decision-making’, increased access to
productive re sources, and e xpanded choic es’o f individual women (Bisnath and Elson,
1999; Nussbaum, 2000; Abu Nahleh et al., 2003).
This definition of empowerment has been mechanically adopted by local women’s
organizations in the OPT, as in other developing countries. In this context, a process
of co-opting global definitions, interpretations and practice has resulted in an
unconscious compliance with the global agendas. It has led to accommodating and
substituting local priority issues, and employing traditional WID approach in ways that
conform to reformative and instrumentalist rather than transformative and radical
understandings of the term, and to individual instead of collective empowerment
(Sen, 1993; Oxaal and Baden, 1997). The practice of this version of empowerment has
Development, 2010,53(2), (247–253)
r2010 Society for International Development 1011-6370/10
Development (2010) 53(2), 247–253. doi:10.1057/dev.2010.22
resulted in limited changes in gender relations
and gender roles, and produced overburdened wo-
men with more work, connecting productive and
reproductive roles within the household economy,
and at the same time isolated them socially from
playing a role in public life. In addition, the adop-
tion of this concept has affected local agendas in
a way that has alienated them and made them ir-
relevant to their constituency.
From instrumentalism to resistance:
Defining empowerment in Palestine
The adoption of an instrumentalist definition of
empowerment in the context of the Occupied
Palestinian Territories is unfortunate due to its
unique situation of de-development’ (Roy, 1987).
De-development is the consequence of being
subjugated to Israeli colonial occupation for the
last 60 years and the absence of an independent
state and national sovereignty. This situation has
resulted in structural deformities and limitations,
patriarchal domination and the wide gender gap,
and spatial segregation and social fragmentation
within the Bantustan political geography. These
conditions have worsened in the period after the
1993 Oslo peace agreement, with t he construc tion
of the separation wall and segregation of the
different areas of the West Bank and Gaza, and
restrictions on mobility through siege policy and
All these factors have been either ignored or
marginalized in development analysis. The OPT
has become to be imagined as a post-conflict
situation, which represented a golden opportu nity
for structural adjustment and an open door for
international organizations and the donor com-
munity. Although the flow of funding was mainly
political, aiming to stabilize the peace process,
came with it, have affected and alienated many
civil society organizations, including womens
These conditions have meant that any kind of
real empowerment has been impossible to attain
in a colonized society with continuous crisis. Nor
can conventional paradigms of empowerment
help us understand how women themselves
express empowerment within conditions of
oppression without taking a position that there is
no empowerment under occupation. Yet Judith
Butler’s words published in an interview in an
Israeli newspaper during her last visit to the
Palestinian Territories in February 2010, can help
in understanding how, when and why can
women be empowered through resistance and in
conditions of subjugation. She says:
It seemed that if you were subjugated, there were
also forms of agency that were available to you, and
you were not just a victim, or you were not only
oppressed, but oppression could become the condi-
tion of your agency. Certain kinds of unexpected
results can emerge from the situation of oppression
if you have the resources and if you have the
collective support. (Haaretz,Feb24,2010)
These words can help to understand the situation
of Palestinian women and the conditions under
which the y can be empowered through rede fining
empowerment to suit the context and not through
adapting alienating concepts to distort reality.
In this context, it is therefore possible to adopt a
definition of empowerment that retraces histori-
cal roots in definitions emphasizing agency and
radical change. Implicit in the concept of women’s
empowerment is also the notion of power ^ one
that is as connected to authority, domination
and/or exploitation, as it is to the exercise of power
in collec tive act ion or for libe rat ion (Kabee r, 1999,
2001). Such a concept does not adopt mechani-
cally global definitions, but is linked to everyday
resistance to occupation. It is framed within
coping strategies and steadfastness. Such a defini-
tion would be more authentic and relevant in
the Palestinian situation, and would speak to the
everyday struggle for survival in Palestine, and
the struggle to assert national and gender identity
and to claim womens rights as an integral compo-
nent of the national struggle.
Meanings of women’s empowerment in
the Palestinian context
As part of Pathways of Empowerment Research
Programme Consortium project to understand
how women’s empowerment is understood in
Development 53(2): Local/Global Encounters
different contexts, a series of focus group discus-
sions and interviews were conducted with mem-
bers of different Palestinian women organizations
in order to understand the origin, meaning and
use of the concept in the Palestinian context.
These built on earlier work on the meanings of
empowerment in Palestine (Abu Nahleh et al.,
2003). A series of indicative quotations from
these interviews reveals some of the differences
of perspective that emerge in this context.
An executive member of the Union of Women’s
committees (a leftist organization that is consid-
ered a radical organization and has maintained
its grassroots struc ture and original discourse)
said: The concept of empowerment is a new con-
cept that has been suddenly imposed on us after
Oslo and channeled through the aggressive
wave of funding of projects to women’s organiza-
tions. Historically we have worked towards
empowering women before the use of the con-
cept through a point of view that says that
women are equal partners with men, they have
the same rights and duties and should engage
in all different roles that are required of her to
sustain the resistance and claim her gender
identity. This was the situation of women in the
first Intifada when all women young and old
have engaged in the struggle according to their
capacity and view of their role in the resistance.
So our conceptual reference was comprehensive
and radical, working through decentraliz ed
democratic structures that give oppor tunities
for women to become activists politically and
socially, and challenge the male and patriarchal
structures of the society. We have prepared and
promoted candidates for elections for public
office, and activated women economically through
cooperatives as units of production.
We also see women’s empowerment through
their work in affecting other women and raising
their awareness of their rights, in a gender
perspective to impact gender roles and gender
relations within the household as an entry point
to womens liberation.This is the kind of empower-
ment that we enhanced without using the label
or the concept. At the same time it was a process
that was not timed within a project that can end
at a certain point when women are not yet ready
to claim their full rights or continue to build their
case. To us, this process is a process of radical citi-
zenship (without a state under occupation) and a
national and political responsibility of all citizens
to resist the occupation and attain their rights
through building a democratic community.
This process by itself is a challenge to the way
empowerment is being used and practiced nowa-
days, that focuses on individuals and not the
collective and hence cannot have atransformative
nature, and at the same time maintain the institu-
tional borders closed to any radical change to be
able to receive foreign funding.
To us in the union, empowerment is a tool and
an objective at the same time. The empowered
woman can def end her rights and at t he same time
engage in the struggle for attaining the rights
of other women. We define empowerment as a
revolutionary process and as part of social strug-
gle against occupation, and patriarchy. It is the
collective empowerment that can mobilize and
organize women to reach their goals. We don’t
design projects or programmes according to inter-
national organizations, but we design our pro-
grammes according to needs and interests of
women and try to find alternative resources to
international funding. This as a whole is a compre-
hensive process of empowerment.
These words exemplify the historical use of
the concept of empowerment in this context, one
that focuses on the process and agency and on
engagement in national resistance for social
liberation. This kind of empowering process is
gradual but radical, and comprehensive, does
not compartmentaliz e issues but sees their inter-
relatedness, and situates the process within its
real context considering the colonial context as
one of the structural and national obstacles.
A member of the Union of Women Committees
for Social Work, who are considered to be main-
stream and secular, defined empowerment as
Empowerment is the capacity to take decisions and
execute them freely and in order to do thi s the women
should be economically, socially and politically
empowered. Empowerment is the capacity to have a
comprehensive knowledge on all issues and all levels.
When a woman can perform excellence in the work
Kuttab: Palestinian Women’s Empowerment
she does, then she can impose her personality and
respect and this can solve the problems and give
her the power to challenge. An empowered woman
is the one who has the capacity to perform well,
and who can manage a meeting, and can conduct
training and so on. Most women are empowered
through their individual effort but the institution
can be supportive. Empowerment is depended on
funding, if the committee is able to get funds, they
can be more successful and empowered. As the
concept is ref lected through the donor community,
we adopted their definition to be able to fund our
Although she has integrated the social, political
and economic levels in a comprehensive empow-
erment process, she has emphasiz ed individual
and personal traits, which are thought to be
important for women’s empowerment which
can also enhance collective empowerment.
Yet, the concept is not clear to her, and she
considers foreign funding as a powerful tool for
A member of the Palestinian Women’s Working
comm ittee ^ a lef tist organi zation who was among
the first to institutionaliz e and professionalize wo-
men’s activism ^ who is also a member of Women
against Violence forum, defined empowerment in
these words:
Empowerment is based on power, which can be rea-
lized through three factors: knowledge of oneself,
has the necessary confidence in achievement and
work, and be a member of a collective to realize citi-
zenship, this is how you can be empowered.
Although she is on the left and she appreciates
the transformative power of empowerment, she
stressed the personal traits, but saw the linkage
between individual and collective as important to
empowerment. Lastly, an employee of the Minis-
try of Women’s Affairs, who had been a member of
a left political party, was asked about the concept
of empowerment. She said:
Empowerment is a continuous process that aims
to enhance women’s capacity for decision making.
Empowerment begins with individual empowerment
through capacity building and then it should be
integrated with collective empowerment in order
for change to happen. If the status of women does
not change, then empowerment is not real.
These are different interpretations of empower-
ment that combine individual with collective
empowerment as inter-related processes. While
some put more focus and emphasis on the collec-
tive, others feel that the individual charisma is
also important. It is worth noting that foreign
funding, emphasized by some to be an obstacle
for enhancing transformative empowerment, is
believed by others to be a powerfu ltool for emp ow-
erment. Hence these are simple examples of how
different women’s organizations perceive the pro-
cess of empowerment through the lens of their po-
litical affiliation and ideological framework.
Empowerment on three levels
Three kinds of empowerment are addressed in the
programmes of Palestinian womens organiza-
tions: political empowerment, economic and
legal empowerment. Many organizations target
individual and collective empowerment as paral-
lel strategies (Abu Nahleh et al., 2003). Var iations
in the ways different development actors concep-
tualized empowerment ref lects the relation be-
tween political and ideological framework and
readiness to adapt to global agendas. For instance,
the definition of political empowerment was
broad enough to include the term ‘political’ in
its classical context linked to politics, or to any
activity related to the national struggle and
defined as political, or to participation in deci-
sion-making process. Issues of gender, human
rights, and women’s rights, including women’s
agency and leadership have been also defined
as part of political empowerment. Definitions of
legal empowerment reflected a wide range of
issues, including the provision of social, psycholo-
gical, and legal services for women, legal literacy
and education on legal rights, strengthening
of women’s identity, protection from abuse and
violation of rights, and advocacy through
campaigning and influencing legislators and
decision-makers for protection of rights (Abu
Nahl eh et al., 2003).
In contrast, definitions of economic empower-
ment focused mainly on economic independence
as an important prerequisite to women’s empow-
erment, although it was the least integrated in
Development 53(2): Local/Global Encounters
programmes of womens organizations. Some
took the rights perspective as a basis for economic
empowerment, considering women’s participa-
tion in labour market or decent work as a right
that should be granted and protected. Womens
micro-credit institutions have mushroomed in
Palestine, to grant credit for women entrepre-
neurs in order to empower them economically.
But our studies showed these schemes to be only
poverty alleviation schemes that did not result in
empowerment (World Bank, 2010). By focusing
on individual empowerment as a separated and
not connected activity to collective empowerment,
they emphasize the instrumentalist rather than
the transformative approach of empowerment.
Alternative perspectives on
In 1987 when the Palestinian first Intifada (upris-
ing) erupted, the women’s movement, like other
mass-based organizations, was able to respond
to peoples aspirations of independence through
integrating national and social liberation strug-
gles with decentralized structures and outreach.
Neighbourhood and popular committees success-
fully mobilized different sectors of the society,
using their experience and commitment to re-
spond on one hand to the urgent needs of the
struggle and on the other, to promote social and
political consciousness. Mobilization of women
occurred on two levels, raising national and politi-
cal consciousness through organization and
participation in the struggle, and building and
expanding women’s own spaces by raising gender
consciousness and claiming womens rights.
Some radical womens committees put the two
levels into one strategy, addressing women’s
economic needs and desires through building
womens cooperatives, and at the same time fulfill-
ing national slogans like self-reliance and boycott
of Israeli goods.
Women in these organizations asserted their
social and economic rights as women, making
economic empowerment an integral part of
political and social empowerment. Working in
cooperatives exposed women to public life in
term s of ma rket. The y were able to bui ld sol idarity
and cooperative relations among themselves,
understood and acted towards changing gender
dynamics within the household, and became
involved politically in the community issues and
concerns (Kuttab, 2006). This comprehensive
process of empowerment is part of their resistance
and coping with life under occupation, on one
hand and with developing their political, econom-
ic and social spaces on the other. Mobilizing and
organizing women in a movement that under-
stands the dialectic relation of the three levels of
womens oppression ^ the national, social and
class, representing the triangle of oppression
of Palestinian women ^ becomes necessary as a
condition of resistance and transformation.
Competition over funding and fears for the
discontinuity of their organization imprisons
today’s Palestinian women’s organizations within
the global boundaries of the concept and its
practice. However, there are new, more creative,
kinds of activism that have been strengthened
after the Al-Aqsa Intifada of 2000, which recall
the forms of mobilization and organizing that
were so much part of earlier women’s movement
activism in Palestine. Mixed-sex Community
Based Organizations (CBOs) are being formed,
and are seeking to introduce new dynamics to
challenge traditional patriarchal community in-
stitutions. These CBOs are a culmination of
‘Neighbourhood Cor ners’which g rew out of a very
simple idea, launched by Bisan Center for
Research and Development in Ramallah, that
‘if you give people physical space or place to
gather, they will begin to exchange ideas and
plan activities that meet their needs’.
These organizations have built the concept of
alternative development through a strategic
process of helping communities articulate their
own needs, strategize solutions, and implement
those solutions, while building leadership and
organizational capacity. This process by itself is
the process of empowerment as it depends solely
on young people who are community members,
authentic enough to find empowerment in a col-
lective effort depending on the internal resources
available in the local community. Through brain-
storming sessions using popular education, and
action research that can facilitate understanding
Kuttab: Palestinian Women’s Empowerment
their environments, they are able to discuss
and carry out alternative development practices.
Solidarity, complementarily, and partnership
become s the equation for c ollective emp owerment
that can be transformative and bring the desired
outcomes. Although they are so new it is difficult
to evaluate their performance, the hold hope for
the future.
There is a clear understanding amongst Palesti-
nian women’s organizations of the concept of
empowerment, irrespective of whether it is stated
or defined, implicitly addressed in their work or
explicitly mentioned in their brochures and
programmes. This familiarity with the concept
is due to their exposure to the international
discourse that comes not only with grants, but
also with projects for implementation. They use
the concept in a flexible manner, reflecting a
broad range of meanings. The three main kinds
of empowerment that were mentioned ^ political,
economic and legal empowerment ^ address
a wide range of issues and facilitate working
on awide range of programmes, often with a focus
on individual women rather than women as a
collective. Some organizations see individual
empowerment as a pre-requisite for collective
empowerment. Others feel that collective empow-
erment is more important to focus on as it results
in the transformation of the structures that
subjugate women. However, what becomes
evident from the Palestinian context is the need
to tie empowerment to the everyday resistance
to the colonial occupation and see it as part of a
comprehensive process that relates national
resistance to social and economic independence.
‘Participation in decision-making’, increased
access to productive resources and ‘expanded
choices’ of individual women, the components of
neo-liberal empowerment, will not be sufficient
for the transformative empowerment required to
transform the economic and political structure
and treat women as equal partners and citizens
(Bisnath and Elson, 1999: 2). Women don’t only
want access to resources, but also control over
them. They don’t only want to participate in
decision-making through quotas for women, but
with full rights as equal citizens. Women don’t
only want to work in any employment opportu-
nity, but in protected and decent work. This is
the situation where women become empowered
and this is why this kind of empowerment cannot
happen und er colonial occ upat ion and patriarchal
domination. It is difficult to attain a degree of
empowerment if the occupation does not end,
and if stability and security do not prevail. There
can be no empowerment in a situation where
access of women to economic opportunities is not
linked to change in gender roles and gender
relations. As Palestinians have no independent
state, it becomes even more problematic for
women to attain independence, equality and
social justice without the intervention of the state
and the protection of the law.
The i nstitutionaliz ation and profe ssionaliz at ion
of women’s issues through co-opting global agen-
das presents a difficult dilemma for the women’s
movement. Particular issues arise in developing a
strategy that can address both gender issues
within the emerging patriarchal political system
linked to the very real conditions of occupation
and colonialism that men and women face on
daily basis (Kuttab, 2008). The main obstacle in
achieving liberation and democratic transforma-
tion is the condition of alienation that renders the
people as powerless and marginalized, excluded
from the political process.
Ultimately, liberation from the occupiers and
emancipation from structures of domination from
within can only be achieved through the wide
participation of people in the political process
through overcoming political alienation and
freeing the civil society from the grip of the donor
community and the state (Kuttab, 2006). If
womens organizations continue to speak of
equality and empowerment in abstract and isola-
tion from national liberation issues, and accom-
modate global agenda as the only agenda, it will
continue to be distant from the masses and the
needs of the masses. To make women’s issues
legitimate societal issues, the women’s movement
and women’s organizations should go back to
their original agenda of balancing the national
and the social in a workable formula that can
Development 53(2): Local/Global Encounters
empower women in everyday resistance against
colonial occupation and at the same time address
patriarchy and class exploitation as an integral
part of the struggle.
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Kuttab: Palestinian Women’s Empowerment
... There is a clear understanding of women's empowerment in Palestinian organizations because these organizations are exposed continuously to international discourse that focuses on gender balance (Kuttab, 2010). ...
... Yet, empowerment by international organizations implementing programmes in Palestine works on individual rather than collective empowerment. For example, Kuttab (2010) concludes that true empowerment will only be obtained if women have full rights as equal citizens. He adds that women should have decent and protected employment opportunities and not just access to work. ...
... This kind of empowerment cannot happen under settler colonial occupation and patriarchal domination. Women's empowerment in Palestine is much more complicated and problematic since Palestinians are still living under occupation and this will hinder women's independence, equality and social justice (Kuttab, 2010). Kuttab's conclusions are the core of the process, especially when it comes to collective empowerment, the colonial occupation and its direct effect on true rather than superficial empowerment in Palestine. ...
... It has been argued that for someone to be empowered, they need to also be economically empowered (e.g. Kuttab, 2010). ...
... The definition of empowerment found in this study is in line with theories on empowerment that specify that it needs to be redefined to suit the context and that the definition of empowerment encompasses different meanings in different political and sociocultural contexts and amongst different populations of people (Kuttab, 2010;Orford, 2008). According to Kuttab (2010), empowerment is tied to everyday resistance in an anticolonial struggle in the Palestinian context; economic independence is part of resisting the injustice of the occupation. ...
... The definition of empowerment found in this study is in line with theories on empowerment that specify that it needs to be redefined to suit the context and that the definition of empowerment encompasses different meanings in different political and sociocultural contexts and amongst different populations of people (Kuttab, 2010;Orford, 2008). According to Kuttab (2010), empowerment is tied to everyday resistance in an anticolonial struggle in the Palestinian context; economic independence is part of resisting the injustice of the occupation. There is a lack of studies investigating everyday resistance in the context of livelihoods in the oPt (Hammad & Tribe, 2020b), although perseverance has been identified as an important strategy to endure the occupation (Hammad & Tribe, 2020c); arguably livelihoods support perseverance. ...
Full-text available
The literature indicates that poverty and unemployment in conflict affected areas are major stressors that negatively affect civilian wellbeing and mental health. Restoring livelihoods is expected to have a positive impact on wellbeing (Inter-Agency Standing Committee, 2007). There is a lack of research evaluating livelihood interventions in ongoing conflict settings. This study evaluated an economic empowerment programme (EEP) for seven young Palestinian university graduates experiencing poverty and unemployment (as per the selection criteria for the EEP), living in the Gaza Strip, occupied Palestinian territories. Semi-structured interviews were conducted. Thematic analysis was used. Three themes were identified: (1) economic empower-ment, (2) psychological benefits (e.g. hope, confidence and improved morale) and (3) income generation fosters psychosocial empowerment. The evaluation findings indicated that despite the difficult economic conditions in Gaza, the EEP was found to help address psychosocial issues and reduced poverty and unemployment. It enabled participants to meet their own and their family's basic and crucial needs, thus enabling financial survival and facilitating greater economic security. For some participants, income generation was found to increase agency, independence, social mobility, self-sufficiency and decision-making ability. The findings indicated that economic and psychological benefits were maintained 2 years 5 months after the EPP completion, including 8 months postwar. The analysis revealed that participants conceptualised empowerment as being able to work and having a livelihood and that income generation led to empowerment. The implications of this study and the relevance of the findings to mental health and disaster relief are considered, and further areas of exploration are discussed.
... While there has been a lot of research on how gender roles change during armed conflicts and civil wars, little has been done on women's activism under occupation and persecution. This niche is mostly dominated by studies on Palestinian women's empowerment and peacebuilding efforts under conditions of prolonged occupation (Peteet 1991;Kuttab 2010;Najjar 2011) but lacks case studies from other regions with different societies' strictures and gender relations. This article aims to help fill this gap. ...
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The article addresses changing gender roles and Muslim female activism in post-2014 Crimea. It focuses on the civil society organisation Crimean Solidarity (Krymskaia solidarnost’), which appeared in 2016 as a result of the Russian authorities’ criminalisation of Hizb ut-Tahrir (The Party of Islamic Liberation). At the time the study was conducted, August–November 2019, 70 male members of Hizb ut-Tahrir were in prison. Crimean Solidarity unites the families of arrested men, their lawyers, human rights defenders, journalists, and other sympathisers. The article is based on interviews with the women of Crimean Solidarity and analysis of their public speeches during the organisation’s monthly meetings. I argue that the 2014 ‘Crimean crisis’ contributed to a change in gender roles in the families of arrested party members and opened up space for women activists of Hizb ut-Tahrir in public spheres previously occupied mainly by men. This study contributes to the ongoing academic discussions on gender roles, women’s agency, and empowerment in conflict zones. It also sheds light on the contemporary situation of the Crimean Tatar people in post-2014 Crimea.
... Most of the literature concerned with this issue agrees that NGO-ization represents the outcome of the specific political culture stemming from the neoliberal economic regime (Alvarez 2010;Awashra & Awashreh 2012;Azzam 2014;Batliwala 2007;Dana 2013;Jad 2004;Kamat 2003Kamat , 2004Kuttab 2008Kuttab , 2009Kuttab , 2010Miraftab 1997;and Sardenberg 2016). Countering the narrative that perceives NGOs and similar organizations to be sincere expressions of international civil society and its ethical imperatives of solidarity, humanity, and inclusion, this line of thought argues that the role of NGOs is "not an innocent one, but one that foretells a reworking of democracy in ways that coalesce with global capitalist interests" (Kuttab 2004, 156). ...
... Most of the literature concerned with this issue agrees that NGO-ization represents the outcome of the specific political culture stemming from the neoliberal economic regime (Alvarez 2010;Awashra & Awashreh 2012;Azzam 2014;Batliwala 2007;Dana 2013;Jad 2004;Kamat 2003Kamat , 2004Kuttab 2008Kuttab , 2009Kuttab , 2010Miraftab 1997;and Sardenberg 2016). Countering the narrative that perceives NGOs and similar organizations to be sincere expressions of international civil society and its ethical imperatives of solidarity, humanity, and inclusion, this line of thought argues that the role of NGOs is "not an innocent one, but one that foretells a reworking of democracy in ways that coalesce with global capitalist interests" (Kuttab 2004, 156). ...
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This article is concerned with the issue of Cairene public space in light of various gendered contestations to the historical construction of these spaces as, predominantly, cis-gendered male. Extending Ghassan Moussawi’s (2020) analytical concept الوضع/ al-wad’ (the situation), I articulate وضع الشارع/ wad’ el share’ to mean “the situation in the street/the street situation” as a framework through which to understand the often violent, chaotic, and unwelcoming environment of the street for Cairene women. In two recent moments of violence that resulted in the deaths of two Cairene women—the “Maadi Girl” and the “Al Salam Doctor”—I highlight the ways that wad’ el share’ overcomes spatial barriers through its very flexibility: wad’ el share’ is not dependent on a particular environment; rather, it “goes into effect when a woman “talks back” to it.” As “talking back” spills across various ideological and material boundaries, so too does wad’ el share’ extend its violent logic. Published by the Civil Society Review in Lebanon
... This process transforms the women by developing their subordination and building the capacity to challenge it [10]. Thus, women earnings larger control over resources, such as income, knowledge, information, technology, skill, training, decision making process, enhance the self-image of women to become active participants in the transform of changing and contribute to the socioeconomic wellbeing [10,21]. Moreover, women empowerment is an initial condition for the poverty reduction and the upholding of human rights, particularly at the individual level as it helps to build the base for social change [25]. ...
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Social capital and financial empowerment create opportunities for women in social enterprises project that lead to socioeconomic wellbeing with perceived women’s efficacy (self-efficacy). With the strength of social capital that women entrepreneurs have, it is become easier for them to get financial accessibility. Whereas a strong efficacy enhances women’s accomplishment that contributes to the socioeconomic wellbeing. This study has employed a cross-sectional design and data from 157 women entrepreneurs in Peninsular Malaysia. This study indicated that social capital, financial capabilities and self-efficacy enhancement contributed to women empowerment to develop their socioeconomic wellbeing in social enterprise projects in Peninsular Malaysia. Given those important investments in social capital and financial empowerment, the government and private agencies should therefore focus on social enterprise development projects which are related to sustainable development goals.
... Women's empowerment cannot be reduced to a simplistic cause-and-effect process, or an end in itself, whereby resources are allocated and women as a homogenous group become empowered in a measurable way, because empowerment cannot be bestowed on others. Hence the need for the empowering environment; rather than just giving access to resources, women need to be given control over them and also be included in the decision-making about them (Eileen Kuttab 2014). Yet this environment is itself beset with power inequalities and obstacles which cannot be overcome simultaneously, and may come from the least expected quarters, for example, from female in-laws and other women. ...
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Does radio programming by Studio Tamani in Mali create an empowering environment for women’s voices? Contributing to existing theoretical discussions on radio and women’s empowerment, this article examines the need to discuss women’s empowerment not from the perspective of women as individuals, but from the perspective of “webs of relations”, thus allowing intersubjectivity and evolving relationships with others to be considered. “Webs of relations” refers to the broader societal, institutional, and structural inequalities and injustices that women face in their everyday lives and which shape women’s agency and decision-making power. To achieve this aim, the article draws on two rounds of focus group discussions (FGDs) conducted in 2019–2020 and content analyses of a series of women-related radio programmes broadcast in Mali by Studio Tamani, the radio studio created by the Swiss-based media organisation Fondation Hirondelle. It suggests that the plurivocality of Malian women, as a diverse and heterogenous group, must be reflected in radio debates on women’s issues in order to reflect the “web of relations” that delimit women’s empowerment.
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Empoderamiento de la mujer y seguridad alimentaria, son temas de gran interés en diferentes escenarios mundiales en el marco de los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible; existiendo aún, vacíos en cuanto al conocimiento de ambos temas que podrían coadyuvar a fortalecerlos. El estudio correlacional tiene como objetivo general, el determinar la relación que existe entre empoderamiento de mujeres con niños/as menores de cinco años y seguridad alimentaria, se desarrolla con una población total de 57 madres pertenecientes al Programa del Vaso de Leche - PVL del distrito de Huacrapuquio (Junín-Perú). La recolección de datos, para ambas variables, se realizó a través de la encuesta cuyos cuestionarios fueron aplicados individualmente a la población de estudio; los resultados demuestran que existe una relación directa entre el empoderamiento de mujeres y seguridad alimentaria, la mayoría de madres puntúan niveles bajos en ambas variables. Los hallazgos sugieren que el empoderamiento de mujeres puede facilitar la implementación de procesos orientados a la seguridad alimentaria, proponiendo a los actores claves de los escenarios afines la implementación de políticas públicas y estrategias participativas para potenciar el empoderamiento de mujeres y la seguridad alimentaria; considerando, además, estudios futuros para establecer posibles relaciones causales.
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This article is a critical reflection on gender politics in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza over the last 30 years. It traces the increasing professionalization of the women's movement from the 1970s through the Oslo year to the contemporary period. The article explores the problematic impact of both professionalization and internationalization on the possibilities of Palestinian women's and social movements for change.
In this major book Martha Nussbaum, one of the most innovative and influential philosophical voices of our time, proposes a kind of feminism that is genuinely international, argues for an ethical underpinning to all thought about development planning and public policy, and dramatically moves beyond the abstractions of economists and philosophers to embed thought about justice in the concrete reality of the struggles of poor women. Nussbaum argues that international political and economic thought must be sensitive to gender difference as a problem of justice, and that feminist thought must begin to focus on the problems of women in the third world. Taking as her point of departure the predicament of poor women in India, she shows how philosophy should undergird basic constitutional principles that should be respected and implemented by all governments, and used as a comparative measure of quality of life across nations.
This paper begins from the understanding that women's empowerment is about the process by which those who have been denied the ability to make strategic life choices acquire such an ability. A wide gap separates this processual understanding of empowerment from the more instrumentalist forms of advocacy which have required the measurement and quantification of empowerment. The ability to exercise choice incorporates three inter-related dimensions: resources (defined broadly to include not only access, but also future claims, to both material and human and social resources); agency (including processes of decision making, as well as less measurable manifestations of agency such as negotiation, deception and manipulation); and achievements (well-being outcomes). A number of studies of women's empowerment are analysed to make some important methodological points about the measurement of empowerment. The paper argues that these three dimensions of choice are indivisible in determining the meaning of an indicator and hence its validity as a measure of empowerment. The notion of choice is further qualified by referring to the conditions of choice, its content and consequences. These qualifications represent an attempt to incorporate the structural parameters of individual choice in the analysis of women's empowerment.
Judith Butler: As a Jew, I was taught it was ethically imperative to speak up
  • Udi Haaretz
  • Aloni
Haaretz, Udi Aloni (2010) 'Judith Butler: As a Jew, I was taught it was ethically imperative to speak up', 24 February.