Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research

2014 Edition
| Editors: Alex C. Michalos

Women’s Empowerment

  • Yin-Zu ChenEmail author
  • Hiromi Tanaka
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-0753-5_3252



Based on the assumptions that women differ from men in their social positions and that those differences consist of asymmetric, unequal power relations between the genders, “women’s empowerment” refers to the process of increasing women’s access to control over the strategic life choices that affect them and access to the opportunities that allow them fully to realize their capacities. Women’s empowerment as an economic, political, and sociocultural process challenges the system of sexual stratification that has resulted in women’s subordination and marginalization in order to improve women’s quality of life.


The notion of women’s empowerment entails three key elements: power, autonomy, and subjectivity.

First, three alternative sources of power increase women’s ability to make strategic choices in their lives: “power with,” “power to,” and “power within.” “Power with” is the group- or collective-based...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyNational Taipei UniversityNew Taipei CityTaiwan
  2. 2.School of Information and CommunicationMeiji UniversityTokyoJapan