Women Empowerment: an Ethnographic Exploration
Empowerment is a value-laden social construct that is deep-rooted in cultural values (Noor Mohammed, 2015; Njogu and Orchardson-Mazrui, 2013). Consequently, the construct of empowerment has fuzziness in its definitions (Alkire, 2007). The definition of empowerment leads to measures in tackling hindrances in empowering people. The current article presents a qualitative exploration of the ethnic and communal scopes of empowerment for women. It is the qualitative stage of a larger study which resulted in determining the local perspective of the definition of women empowerment. This article consists of the discussions and analysis of semi-structured ethnographic interviews with 54 women from 36 districts of Punjab, Pakistan, over a year. As a consequence of this qualitative exploration new indicators of women empowerment came to light. Some previous indicators were revised in the light of local perspective while some international dimensions of empowerment appeared to be redundant in local settings. These findings support localized definitions of the diverse and complex phenomenon of women empowerment, instead of borrowed international definition. Targeted native scopes/definitions of women empowerment can assist policymakers design targeted and effective programs for empowerment and development of women.
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