Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Women's Economic Empowerment: An Analysis of Development Discourse and Its Impact on Gender Development Programs
by Thim, Annelise, M.A., The American University of Paris (France), 2015, 57; 13833854
Abstract (Summary)

Empowering women, particularly in an economic sense, has come to be a staple of most international aid projects in developing countries. While the limits to women’s economic empowerment are well documented through gender gaps in economic outcomes such as income and labor force participation, the development community has made little progress in improving the situation for women. In addition, as empowerment discourse is taken on by more and more actors in the development community, its meaning is diluted.

This thesis examines the impact of empowerment discourse on development interventions that target women’s economic position. This thesis accepts as a theoretical framework the gendered nature of the economy that limits women’s full participation and leads to unequal divisions of power. Based on Martha Nussbaum’s Capabilities Approach and a Feminist Political Economic perspective, this thesis attempts to show how the focus on women’s economic empowerment ignores gendered power structures therefore limiting their impact. The researcher uses two main research strategies to analyze women’s economic empowerment in the context of the Sunhara Project, a development intervention in India: 1) a qualitative analysis of major sources concerning the Sunhara project and 2) a quantitative text analysis to better understand the major trends and themes identified by the major stakeholders involved. Many in the development community consider the focus on empowerment as a powerful change in international aid programs targeting women; however the idea of empowerment remains vague and is both hard to conceptualize in a development intervention and hard measure progress.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fleury, Cynthia
School: The American University of Paris (France)
Department: International Affairs
School Location: France
Source: MAI 58/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Womens studies, Economics
Publication Number: 13833854
ISBN: 978-0-438-79606-5
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