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Women's Empowerment Through the Lens of UN Women: A Qualitative Discourse Analysis from a Feminist Perspective
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Despite the breakthrough of ‘women’s empowerment’ in the international development field and the continuous emphasis on its importance, there is still no consensus on the concept’s meaning. Many feminist scholars argue that this has affected the concept’s transformative potential as development institutions have tended to adopt overly simplistic understandings. The recent establishment of UN Women can be understood as marking an institutionalization of the women’s empowerment agenda as it was created through development institutions’ joint forces for the increased advancement of gender agendas. With this new institution and the still ambiguous meaning of women’s empowerment, this study examines how UN Women understands women’s empowerment and explores possible implications of this understanding for its practice of empowering women. Via ideal types this study uses feminist critique and visions as reference points to discuss whether UN Women has managed to change previous simplistic understanding of women’s empowerment. The study concludes that UN Women’s understanding of women’s empowerment is similar to the international development institutions’ often adopted understanding of the concept. The results therefore imply that despite the institutionalization of the women’s empowerment agenda via the creation of UN Women, the transformative project of women’s empowerment is likely to be absent.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 45 p.
Keyword [en]
W​omen’s Empowerment, UN Women, International Development Institutions, Transformation, Discourse, Feminism.
National Category
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-274199OAI: diva2:895979
Subject / course
Political Science
Educational program
Bachelor Programme in Political Science
Available from: 2016-01-20 Created: 2016-01-20 Last updated: 2016-01-20Bibliographically approved

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Anna Larsson. Bachelors Thesis.(904 kB)146 downloads
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