Part One: A question.
What does empowerment look like? The study that I am currently working on in Bihar examines the impact of a government program on women’s empowerment. But to measure empowerment is not easy. The text book definition of empowerment, as most of you know, means to give power to, to enable (someone) to. . .but that often means that someone is providing the ‘power’ to these disempowered. But what we are really examining in the field is how people take power, use power, own power. And this is not easy. Because it is not a neat shift between point A to point B. It’s negotiated, it’s complex, and it changes its form. It’s also almost always hard to get a grip on – like trying to hold onto the morning mist. You can see the evidence of it, but to quantify it is slightly harder. But that’s our job. That’s our work. So, we do it or try to, in any case. So, what does empowerment look like?