Women Empowerment

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Ruth Paterson Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex MA Governance and Development candidate 2004-05 Policy Paper

Women's empowerment in challenging environments: a case study from Balochistan …to really bring about change, advocacy for gender-fair development must be home-grown. It is not just a matter of entering the spaces between the weave, but also of growing in that space, and evolving from the vast and rich fabric of everyday life. – Maryam Iqbal 1999: 89

Summary Women's empowerment is a commonly cited objective of development projects. There is a growing literature on what women's empowerment means, and how it can be facilitated. An innovative program in Pakistan addresses several of the gaps in the literature by mitigating and addressing resistance through involving the participants' families, by using collective learning but not collective action, and by selecting participants based on aptitude without consideration for their socio-economic status. 'Mainstreaming Gender and Development' has proven highly effective in a conservative, tribal and religious environment by "drawing universal values from particular religious, social and cultural contexts, rather than critiquing local contexts in the light of universal values" (Kamal and Sayed 2005: 67). This paper draws lessons for women's empowerment policy and practice from this case study. An article based on this dissertation has been accepted for publication in Development in Practice. Development in Practice is available online at: http://www.informaworld.com/cdip

Contact: r.paterson@ids.ac.uk idsp@idsp.org.pk

GLOSSARY AND ABBREVIATIONS _______________________________________3 IDSP specific ___________________________________________________________________________ 3 Terminology used in Balochistan __________________________________________________________ 3

KEY PEOPLE IN THE TEXT _______________________________________________4 LIST OF MAPS AND PICTURES ___________________________________________5 PREFACE _______________________________________________________________7 INTRODUCTION _________________________________________________________8 BACKGROUND _________________________________________________________10 Literature ____________________________________________________________________________ 10 Context ______________________________________________________________________________ 13 Program overview______________________________________________________________________ 15 Method_______________________________________________________________________________ 17

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT_____________________________________________20 Developing a sense of self ________________________________________________________________ 20 Managing emotions_____________________________________________________________________ 22 Gender and Islam ______________________________________________________________________ 23 Critical thinking and changing ideas of development _________________________________________ 24

PRACTICE – BUILDING ALLIES – WORKING WITH FAMILY AND TRADITION_____________________________________________________________27 Learning to communicate – developing voice _______________________________________________ 27 Engaging families ______________________________________________________________________ 27 Claiming public space __________________________________________________________________ 30 Challenging the 'mobility myth' and leading by example ______________________________________ 31 Linking theory and practice _____________________________________________________________ 32 Becoming activists______________________________________________________________________ 32 Becoming professionals _________________________________________________________________ 33 Starting point _________________________________________________________________________ 35 The scope of impact...
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