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Indigenous South Sudanese understanding of women empowerment

Winnifred Bedigen

World Development Perspectives, 2022, vol. 25, issue C

Abstract: In empowerment and development literature, most Western feminist scholars point to high levels of women marginalisation in the sub-Sahara region and the urgency to act. As such, some development agencies have gone ahead to design and implement non-contextual empowerment programs. Some of these programs have positively changed women’s lives; however, the majority remains unsustainable. Yet, the understanding and inclusion of indigenous contexts could mitigate this problem. This article seeks to provide indigenous South Sudanese understanding of women empowerment. In doing so, this work explores socio-cultural versions and emphasises what women empowerment means. It argues that indigenous women empowerment relational and contextual nature could benefit development initiatives. Drawing from PhD work in South Sudan and later studies in the Horn, research findings indicate that empowerment is existent in and sustained by locals’ indigenous institutions, beliefs and practices. While recognising its weaknesses, it concludes that sustainability can be achieved if indigenous norms are central in the planning and implementing of development interventions.

Keywords: Women; Indigenous empowerment; Sustainability; South Sudan (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.wdp.2021.100389

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