ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Many Dimensions

Women's Struggles

Interrogating Women's Leadership and Empowerment edited by Omita Goyal,New Delhi: SagePublications, first published in 2015; pp 265, hardback Rs 895.

Some time ago a young feminist PhD scholar interviewed me about the ups and downs of the women’s movement. I had just finished reading Interrogating Women’s Leadership and Empowerment and was mulling over the words “empowerment” and “leadership,” In the 1970s, 1980s and even until the end of the 1990s the word empowerment was synonymous with collective action. In 2015, it is being used to signify the journey of individuals. Towards the mid-1970s it was used with much anticipation and hope. We really believed that empowerment was about women gaining greater control of their lives as a group. The process of sharing one’s personal situations and journeys enabled us to move out of the “this is my problem” syndrome to one of understanding the social and economic situation and locating it in the specific context of community, region or economic status.

This is indeed a remarkable collection of essays, one that takes us through different perspectives of struggles for equality and empowerment. Starting with an insightful essay by Devaki Jain, it enables us to see through the eyes of a wide range of scholars and activists. Omita Goyal’s effort to capture different voices is indeed commendable and Malavika Karlekar’s introduction weaves them together to get us started. In this review I reflect on the essays that captured my attention and forced me to think.

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