Local Voices and Perspectives : A Study on the Contextualisation of Women's Empowerment in Lima, Peru

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Title: Local Voices and Perspectives : A Study on the Contextualisation of Women's Empowerment in Lima, Peru
Author: Salas Lazo, Henry Osmar
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Humanistinen tiedekunta, Maailman kulttuurien laitos
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts, Department of World Cultures
Helsingfors universitet, Humanistiska fakulteten, Institutionen för världens kulturer
Publisher: Helsingfors universitet
Date: 2013
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi-fe201311016967
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Area and Cultural Studies, Latin American studies
Alue- ja kulttuurintutkimus, Latinalaisen Amerikan tutkimus
Region- och kulturstudier, Latinamerikansk forskning
Abstract: The present study sets forth to contextualise women’s empowerment to the Peruvian setting by asking Peruvian women to identify what women’s empowerment should entail. More specifically, this academic project, on the one hand, attempts to examine how prominent scholars conceptualise empowerment and, on the other hand, analyse to what extent Peruvian women’s own understanding of the concept is similar and to what extent it is different from this scholarly conceptualisation. The ultimate goal is to tailor the scholarly concept of empowerment to meet the needs, opportunities, and challenges particular to the Peruvian society. In terms of key overarching findings, the study reveals two particular aspects about the contextualisation of women’s empowerment. First, a broad societal approach to empowerment, which works to improve the situation of all marginalised groups instead of merely focusing on women, is needed in the Peruvian setting. Second, the Peruvian context calls for comprehensive, multifaceted empowerment that takes into account material, sociopolitical, and intrapersonal empowerment and that works to build critical consciousness among women. The study also reveals several more specific aspects of women’s empowerment that need particular emphasis in the Peruvian context. In terms of material empowerment, Peruvian women call for a broader approach to resource distribution, placing themselves within a broader societal framework and frequently identifying with class-based groupings, such as the middle class, instead of gender. Peruvian women also focus on the quality of public services – most notably education and health care – as opposed to simply demanding greater control of and access to such services. With regard to sociopolitical empowerment, there are three aspects that Peruvian women emphasise. First, increasing women’s political activism and participation in the Peruvian context requires particular efforts to combat the association of politics with terrorism, corruption, and masculinity. Second, to empower Peruvian women sociopolitically, strengthening women’s visibility in political life must be emphasised. Third, while it is important to improve women’s rights, the Peruvian context calls for the overall strengthening of citizens’ rights. Finally, in terms of intrapersonal empowerment, the study reveals that, in the Peruvian context, empowerment ought to focus on fostering respect. Greater respect for all marginalised ideas and people – not just women – needs to be developed. Moreover, building active critical consciousness among Peruvian women needs to be emphasised. Peruvian women must not only be made aware of and able to critically analyse their position in a society, but they also need to be turned from objects of oppressive social constructs into subjects that can act to change the status quo. The findings presented in this study underline the usefulness of contextualising empowerment as a tool for incorporating local knowledge and expertise into the conceptualisation of women’s empowerment. Contextualisation allows researchers and empowerment practitioners to identify main challenges and obstacles that are particular to empowering women in a specific environment and, therefore, to better plan, design, and target development programmes.
Rights: Publikationen är skyddad av upphovsrätten. Den får läsas och skrivas ut för personligt bruk. Användning i kommersiellt syfte är förbjuden.

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