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Women, Development and Empowerment: A Pacific Feminist Perspective

Practical Ways of Empowerment

Practical Ways of Empowerment

Let us consider how women could actually go about doing something like this. I would like to suggest some ways, again using the health care project just given, as an example. Women could:


ask for a meeting with the health care department or whatever office the programme comes under;


not just listen to what the health office/department wants women to do, but also present some ideas and suggestions. Women should not just be told what the problem is, but be able to tell government departments and officials what problems they found. Women could also suggest problems they would like worked on first, that is, set priorities. Again, this is a small area where women page 121 could be gaining a bit more control and influence, if they had more input. This is a way of empowering women.


Women's suggestions. Women could see that their suggestions are listened to, or in some cases, women could put forward demands. The listing of what is more or less important by women working in the field should be taken into account by government planners and officials.


Women could ask for training in skills other than what they already have in that area (in this case, health). For example, is there training of traditional midwives to help provide better health care services for women in the villages? Women's groups could ask that their traditional healers be incorporated into the health care system. A WHO programme is I think already doing this for the Pacific.

All these are just examples of ways women can add to their role and influence, and benefit more from projects. We can do this with other projects as well. I have just given one example. Women who traditionally act as health teachers or practitioners, and have traditional learning and knowledge, could exchange this knowledge with modern health care practitioners.