Empowerment - What does it mean to you? What does it look like?

Gladys Shumbambiri wrote a post defining empowerment, this is a great place to start, with a definition.

“Empowerment is the process of enhancing the capacity of individuals or groups to make choices and to transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes”(www.ask.com)

Empowerment also refers to “‘increasing the economic, political, social, educational, gender, or spiritual strength of individuals and communities”.(wikipedia)

I would also like to include the business dictionary definition: A management practice of sharing information, rewards, and power with employees so that they can take initiative and make decisions to solve problems and improve service and performance. http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/empowerment.html

The business definition states a practice - replacing employees with citizens it can be applied to communities/societies - where the rewards are outcomes


I have worked with several empowerment programs in many different capacities, program developer, teacher, facilitator, mentor, etc.  We've been brainstorming the attributes/needs of empowered women including:

 - awareness

 - access to information

 - access to skill training

 - access to mentorship, development, and feedback 

  - access to opportunities to practice/refine skills 

I've witness several times within programs for homeless women a shift from unempowered to empowered - there was a gradual increase in confidence and self-advocacy (through programmed activities that included education, support, access to information, counseling, career skill development, etc).

What does being economically empowered mean?  What traits does a women have when she is considered economically empowered?  What skills does she have, what knowledge does she possess?  How does she act demonstrating she is economically empowered? 

Please share your thoughts!