Women’s empowerment: What does it mean, and whose empowerment?


Jemimah Njuki

I was at a function a few days ago and got talking to a group of people working in the environmental sector. They had been implementing a project and knowing what I do on gender and agriculture, the team were prompt to tell about this technology that they had been developing and promoting, and how impressed they were with it because it had empowered so many women.

It got me thinking again, on how loosely we use that term “empowering women”, and how many times I have heard people say they trained women on this and that and empowered them, and how often I have fallen into that trap myself.

Women’s empowerment had been defined in many ways, from the complex to the simplistic.