women's empowerment

Date of publication
January 2007
Geographical focus

This handbook is based on the experiences of the Huairou Commission the Women's Land Link Africa in using community mapping with groups of women. Community mapping allows grassroots women to assess and record the community's needs and assets and to imagine new solutions to the issues they are facing. The handbook provides through and practical guidelines for various community mapping methods.


You can find this publication on the website of the Huairou Commission.

Date of publication
January 2000
Geographical focus

Taking the step from appraisal to action using planning techniques that respond to the needs expressed by women and men.


This is a module for project planning from a gender perspective. It outlines experiences learned by various projects in Central America and provides practical guidleines for how to manage gender equity in the plannig process of a project.


You can download this module from the International Union for Conservation of Nature's website (IUCN).

Date of publication
January 2008
Geographical focus

The Pastoral Women’s Council (PWC) is a community-based organisation established in 1997 in Tanzania. It was founded to promote the development of Maasai pastoralist women and children by facilitating their access to education, health, social services and economic empowerment. It seeks to address women’s marginalisation in patriarchal Maasai culture, as well as the poverty among the Maasai that has long been underpinned by land access restrictions for pastoralists, hunters and gatherers. PWC’s concerns include preventing the loss of land to the national promotion of tourism, conservation and large-scale commercial farming. Maasai pastoralist women lack property ownership rights, access to social services and the power to make decisions about their own lives (e.g. marriage, education, access to health services). A movement in the 1990s brought about many rights and improved livelihood benefits for pastoralists, but often neglected the gender inequalities and injustices prevalent in Maasai society.


PWC has created and facilitated the formation of women’s action groups and has organised local fundraising for its credit programme. It provides Maasai girls and women with opportunities for education as well as a revolving livestock programme. It has established a small-scale agricultural development programme and it promotes women’s rights and leadership by raising women’s awareness and critical understanding of politics, legislation, women’s rights and their role in development (e.g. through paralegal training, studies, talks by experienced guest speakers, meetings, and encouraging women to talk openly). Its approach is to empower indigenous communities to secure their access and rights to natural resources and to have their role in the management of these resources recognised. Thus, PWC has not only improved tangible aspects of Maasai people’s lives, it has also helped women gain confidence, skills, knowledge and respect.

You can download this publication from the International Institute for Environment and Development's (IIED) website.

Date of publication
January 2008
Geographical focus

This guide specifically seeks to promote women's reproductive rights in India but presents methods and specific participatory tools that can be adapted to other issues  and contexts, like women's land rights.


[From the FAO website] This training initiative provides a space to young women and girls to question and challange existing inequitable gender norms; promote positive constructs of gender and identity; improve their understanding about their body; their feelings and sexuality; and promote sexual and reproductive health.


The manual has five sections and in each there are a series of activities, lasting for about two hours and planned for use with groups of young women. In total, there are 25 group educational activities that are based on participatory methods of learning with extensive use of role plays, games and interactive exercises that engaged young women in discussion, debate and critical thinking. Through these educational activities, this training seeks to promote critical reflection on the social construction of gender that promotes inequality and women's vulnerabilities and to create support for challenging these norms so as to enhance the agency that women have in adopting risk reduction practices.


The five main sections of the manual are: 1. Gender and Identity; 2. Sexuality, Reproductive Health and Rights; 3. Violence; 4. Motherhood and Caregiving; 5. Preventing and living with HIV/AIDS.


You can download this manual from the Population Council's website.

Date of publication
January 2003

This document calls attention to the importance of women's empowerment in all aspects of public and private life. There is a specific section in the paper on women's access to land and other resources that emphasises the need to understand the power dynamic and the effects of policies on the allocation of and the the control over resources. In conclusion, the paper stresses the need to involve all members of society, including men, and political leaders, in the struggle for women's empowerment and equality.


You can download this publication from the IFAD website.  

Date of publication
January 2002
Geographical focus

This paper reviews the literature on women's empowerment and suggests supporting empowerment both as an end in itself and a way to educational, economical and health development. It begins with a discussion of the various conceptual frameworks of women's empowerment, and then examines the ways in which women's empowerment projects have been implemented and measured, ending by stressing the positive development outcomes of women's empowerment.


You can download this publication from the World Bank's website

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