Empowerment through Elegant Designs: Perspectives inside a Bag Manufacturing Business by Some Batswana Women

Empowerment through Elegant Designs: Perspectives inside a Bag Manufacturing Business by Some Batswana Women

Rebecca Nthogo Lekoko (University of Botswana, Botswana)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8568-0.ch007
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This chapter illustrates that self-empowerment cannot be achieved with strong doubts about capability or confidence. Rather, self-initiative is facilitated by ‘power-within' that is, self-acceptance and self-confidence or the ‘Yes-I-can-do-it' attitude. Having being laid off at work, women in this case started their own business of making elegant bags using skills they gained from the company that laid them off. These women were creative and had the right skills to make elegant bags. They also employed the right processes, structures and rationalities for the project to succeed. In sum, this chapter demonstrates that empowerment would not be effected in a vacuum; it always has to be backed up by policies, processes and rationalities for capacity-building, funding and other factors that can defeat project sustainability and success.
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A Brief Understanding Of The Concept Of Empowerment As Used In This Chapter

The discussion of empowerment as applied in this chapter is informed by a number of theorists. Among them being Friedman (1992) who believes that people should be active subjects of their own history. In the context of women empowerment in Botswana, a call for active involvement of women in all sectors of the economy has been popularized by a local organization, Emang Basadi (Stand Up Women – literal translation), advocating for the rights of women. It directs efforts to free women from forces of disempowerment such as oppression, domination and abuse. The concept of empowerment in respect of Emang Basadi is closely aligned with Touwen’s (1996) idea of empowerment as a process of self-discovery, self-reliance, self-confidence and other abilities that can help one to participate effectively in life activities. A complementary definition is also offered by Sen (1999), explaining empowerment as the process of expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy.

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