The area of women’s empowerment has attracted increasing attention among a wide range of interest groups, from authors to researchers to feminist scholars and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). This paper aims to identify the diverse understandings of women’s empowerment in the literature and to discuss empirical evidence from NGO projects in the field. A systematic literature review is employed that includes an analysis of relevant high-quality articles and research papers published in the Scopus database, as well as those produced by United Nations (UN) bodies and well-published authors. The findings highlighted four common understandings of women’s empowerment including granting women a voice, challenging existing power structures, the radical transformation of lives and livelihoods, and gender mainstreaming. The findings of these empirical studies on the role of NGOs in this field revealed understandings limited to granting women a voice and gender mainstreaming, thus reflecting the fact that limited knowledge of women’s empowerment hampers the ability of NGOs to serve women’s advancement and sustainable development. Further-more, and given that these approaches and understandings still fall short of achieving social inclusion for women, it is recommended that these NGOs discharge their efforts toward initiating systemic change to actually sustain female empowerment in the communities in which they are active.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business, Management and Accounting(all)