Monday, February 2, 2015


The achievement of women’s full rights is a complex socio- economic and political process. It demands diverse, positive, and sustained changes in policy, practices, resource allocation, attitudes, beliefs, and power relationships. Together these changes have the potential to lead to transformed societies where women and other marginalized groups can fully achieve their rights. 
Transformative change means change that is fundamental, lasting, and which challenges existing structural inequality. It is part of Oxfam’s approach to development and humanitarian response, and it is continuously being refined and developed within the Oxfam confederation. 

Transformative change requires fundamental shifts in power relationships. Power can be expressed in many different forms. The most commonly recognised expression of power is ‘power over’. This is a way of exercising influence over people, often negatively associated with force, repression, coercion, discrimination, abuse, or corruption. Those who have control over resources and decision-making have power over those without. When people are denied access to important resources like land, healthcare, education, or jobs, power over perpetuates inequality, injustice, and poverty. This expression of power is often associated with the way people interpret leadership: as a hierarchical process where someone (the visible leader) uses his or her authority to make people act and
think the way they want.
If Oxfam aims for transformational change and leadership, power must be used and exercised in more collaborative ways.
Power with’ builds collective strength and finds common ground among different interest groups.
Power with is based on mutual support, solidarity, and collaboration. It brings together the talents and knowledge of individuals to build bridges across different interests in a way that transforms or reduces conflict and promotes equitable relations. 
Power to’ refers to a person’s capacity to decide and carry out desired actions. It refers to the unique potential of every person to shape her or his life and world. It opens up the possibility of joint action, or power with.

Power within’ refers to a person’s sense of self-worth, self-knowledge, self-confidence, and their conviction of what is legitimate. It includes an ability to recognise individual differences while respecting others, and refers to the capacity to imagine and have hope.

It is important to remember that leadership is not always linked with an appointed position or role. Leadership can occur in a moment, act, or behaviour. Anyone can be a leader, or take on leadership, in any given situation. Leadership can also be imagined as a process, where cooperation is emphasized over competition, power and influence is shared within the group,and participative decision-making takes place.

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