Issue 53.2 | Gender and empowerment
Volume 53 No 2 | Gender and empowerment | June 2010
Twenty years after the first publication of the UNDP Human Development report, the 2010 journal volume revisits the concept of human development. How can human development be revitalized to empower people to enact change? The journal issue working with the project Pathways of Empowerment (hosted at IDS Sussex) rethinks human development through the lens of gender and empowerment and highlights the contentions and contestations that have accompanied the uptake of 'women's empowerment' by the development industry. Contributors reflect on their own personal and political engagement with the term and what it has come to represent, on the ways development institutions have taken up and used it, and its place in relation to wider development trends and goals.
Online Launch: For the online launch of the issue, two conversation have been organized:
1) Wendy Harcourt, Yvonne Underhill-Sem and Nejra Cengic discuss the concept of women's empowerment, building on Wendy's editorial 'Lady Gaga meets Ban Ki Moon', featured on the SID Forum with over 1000 views.
Wendy asks how the UN space can be made more relevant. She provocatively asks how to highlight the critical issues of gender and empowerment with the same success and honesty as icons of popular culture such as Lady Gaga. Yvonne Underhill-Sem underlines that although it is important to acknowledge diverse ways in which empowerment can happen, this does not mean moving away from those institutions that continue to have an impact on women's rights. Nejra Cengic reflects further on how far we are still from women empowerment, arguing that the key question is not so much about the content of the UN gender equality agenda, but more about how it functions.
2) Body, gender and empowerment: a conversation with Chloe Schwenke (USA), Alexandru Balasescu (Romania), Hulda Ouma (Kenya), Wendy Harcourt (Australia/Italy)
The phenomenon of pop culture is not new or unusual. Icons of the star system (cinema, music industry and alike) today though are increasingly making of activism and campaigns a major focus of their career. Whether the inter-linkage between pop culture and activism is positive or not, the way such issues are interpreted and understood within the public, especially with regards to the young generations, can vary depending on how they are communicated and interpreted (by Angela Zarro).