This toolbox section is part of the toolbox: M&E - Measuring Power Shifts

UPS - Public, private and personal (intimate) power

Taking a women’s rights perspective in all our work means that we need to draw on gender theory in our analysis of power.  This analysis connects in some important respects with the discussion of visible, hidden and invisible power, but brings in a recognition of the personal dimensions of power.  

In many cases we may be powerful in one realm and powerless in another. A woman may be a powerful political figure who remains subservient at home; or she may be assertive in the domestic sphere but powerless in public spaces. Our strategies to transform power need to address all three realms if we are to achieve sustainable change for women.

  • Personal and intimate power is self-confidence, awareness of rights, relationship to body and own sense of power etc. (it is linked to power within). 
  • Private power is the relationships and roles in family, among friends, in sexual partnerships, in marriage etc.
  • Public power is what we see as visible power in the community, national, market, public life, jobs, legal rights and global spaces etc.

Questions to deepen the discussion:

  • What are our existing strategies doing to address these three realms of power?
  • What new strategies or interventions may be needed to ensure that we are taking all three realms seriously?

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