Expanding reach-benefit-empowerment and gender transformation framework

The CGIAR's Reach Benefit Empowerment and Transformation (RBET) distinguishes between approaches "that reach women participants, such as by including them in program activities; those that benefit women, by improving their circumstances in some way; those that empower women, by strengthening their ability to make and put into action strategic life choices; and those that transform gender relations within and outside the household, such as by changing attitudes at the community level" (Reach-Benefit-Empower-Transform (RBET) Framework | CGIAR GENDER Imp...

This article argues that perhaps adding "coverage" to reaching women participants is necessary, in particular if gender norms and practices are to change. A program that works with only 25% of village women cannot hope to change social norms at the community level. A majority of women have to be covered by a program for norms and attitudes to change. Further the program, has to cover women at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities like 'migrant Dalit women', and not treat women as a homogenous category. Empowerment of women and gender transformation have a symbiotic relationship, with empowerment being essential for gender transformation and gender transformation being essential for women's empowerment.

However, women's empowerment and gender transformation require transformation of other social relations too like race, caste, class, ethnicity, religion, abilities, sexual orientation and gender identity. Unless women address hierarchies amongst themselves, women cannot progress towards empowerment. To give an example, a middle-class woman may own a house in urban areas, but may not let out her house to single women and people from minority community etc. Thus, addressing gender and intersectionality is necessary.

At another level, conscientization of men and women who uphold dominant masculinities is essential for both empowerment of women and gender transformation. Some men and women, including from marginalized communities in South Asia, feel that family lineage passes through sons. The practice of dowry upholds male supremacy, and is common in several South Asian countries. These are just few examples.

Yet another factor influencing women's empowerment and gender transformation is the development models which displace marginalized women and men to create beautiful cities for the elite. Poor women find it difficult to eke their living, housing is small, and at times safety is an issue. A pro-poor women development model is necessary

Thus, an expanded framework is suggested:

Reach/Coverage---Benefit- Women's empowerment/Men's conscientization- Pro-poor women development models- Gender/social transformation,

Cross posted from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/expanding-reach-benefit-empowerment-...

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