Who are we?

Pathways of Women’s Empowerment links academics, activists and practitioners working to advance women’s empowerment locally, regionally and through global policy processes. Our network is organised around five research institutes, who act as “hubs” for research and communications in their regions. The Consortium members are:

What is our purpose?

Empowerment has often been regarded as a destination that can be reached through the development equivalent of a motorway: fast-track programmes which can be rolled out over any terrain. If instead we look at it as on-going process, a journey along meandering pathways full of twists and turns, sometimes doubling back or reaching dead-ends, then the focus is not on replicating the journey, but on understanding it so as to offer possibilities and give hints and warnings to other travellers. This perspective urges us to explore the everyday experiences of the women that development initiatives seek to empower, and to learn from them what helps and hinders them on this journey. The consortium investigates what enables women, individually and collectively, to empower themselves, how they can sustain these changes, and how development agencies’ policies support or hinder this process. We want to make women’s pathways of change visible and to build on them to inspire a radical shift in policy and practice.


Pathways of Women’s Empowerment was funded by UKAid from the Department for International Development from 2006-2011. The programme is now supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida). We also have research work on Afghanistan, Palestine and Sierra Leone which is funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs under our Pathways of Women’s Empowerment in Countries in Crisis project.