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Understanding relationship among empowerment, equality and equity
In the development sector, empowerment, equality and equity have become the buzz words. These days, most NGOs and development agencies have empowerment of beneficiaries and social equity in their agendas. It is also expected of those who are currently wielding power to support the empowerment process through providing an enabling environment of equality and equity across social groups and genders.

It has become exceedingly clear that of empowerment, equality and equity are inter-linked. And, to understand the linkage, the concept of empowerment is needed to be seen in relation to all dimensions of inequality and discrimination that exist in the families, communities and organizations.

According to the international funding agency DFID, the interlinked definition of empowerment is related to 'individuals acquiring the power to think and act freely, exercise choice, and to fulfill their potential as full and equal members of society.'

Equity is often seen as the process of being fair to women and men.  In the developmental sector, to ensure fairness, measures must be taken compensate for historical and social disadvantages that prevent people to operating on a level playing field.  On the other hand, equality is seen as equal opportunity and nights for all.  Some researchers say that equity leads to equality, while others observe that equality as equal rights and entitlements leads to outcomes which are fair and just.

To ensure fairness, strategies and measures must often be available to compensate for women's historical and social disadvantages that prevent women and men from otherwise operating on a level playing field.

From the literature on empowerment, the concept is being illustrated as an ABC poem.

A: Acquiring knowledgeand understanding of social and gender relations and the ways in which these relations may be changed

B: Becoming confidentthrough networks and gaining a voice in decision-making

C: Creatinga more just social and economic order

D: Developinga sense of self-worth, a belief in one's ability to secure desired changes and the right to control one's life

E: Equal rightsand entitlements to human, social, economic, and cultural development

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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