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paraguay Global Eff orts towards Women’s Empowerment The concept of empowerment has been associated with a range of activities undertaken by and for women in diff erent sectors, including education. 6 Defi nitions of empowerment vary and tend to be described as a process, an end-state, and a capacity. 7 Women’s empowerment has been defi ned as “skills and knowledge that usually comprise several dimensions: economic (capacity to generate independent income), psychological (feelings of self-esteem), cognitive (critical understanding of one’s reality) and political (awareness of power inequalities and the ability to organize and mobilize). (Stromquist, 2002; 2006). 8 Nelly Stromquist refers to empowerment as “the multidimensional changes that women must undergo to become active agents of their own transformation” (2006:154). Amongst development practitioners, there’s some agreement that, in order to promote women’s empowerment, it is necessary to create the opportunities and an environment that allows women to participate in educational programs; and also a need to set up specifi c educational programs for women that provide the type of education and training that will sensitize people towards gender discrimination and will raise their acceptance of women’s promotion (Medel-Anonuevo & Bochynek, 1995 9 ; Ramos, 2007a 10 ; 2007b 11 ). Furthermore, in order to succeed, women’s empowerment programs must include certain components such as: promotion of gender awareness; integration of technical, entrepreneurial, cultural and communal aspects; information and lessons on politics; and provision of planning and thinking skills, among others. (Malhotra, 2003) 12 6 Efforts to measure women’s empowerment 13 may consider diff erent levels of action (micro/macro, individual/ collective), diff erent spheres (economic, political, social), diff erent temporal scales (often beyond the lifetime of a single program) and must be sensitive to social context. Approaches to measuring women’s empowerment must also take into account the fact that empowerment can be a slow process of change and the impact of a program may not be seen immediately at the end of the funding period. The Women’s Leadership Program in Paraguay (WLPP) The Women’s Leadership Program in Paraguay (2012- 2015) integrated key elements of the USAID Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy into the program to support national and local development goals that promote gender equality and female empowerment in the agricultural sector. The WLPP was a partnership between the National University of Asuncion (UNA) and the University of Florida (UF). The primary objective of the project was to support national and local development goals in Paraguay that promote gender equality and female empowerment in the agricultural sector. The two universities collaborated to (1) promote and support women’s access to the National University of Asuncion (UNA) with a focus on developing leadership skills; (2) strengthen institutional capacity of UNA’s School of Agricultural Sciences and the Center for which prioritizes equal rights and participation for men and women, access to economic resources and work, equitable education, comprehensive healthcare, life free of violence, and eff ective decentralization. Since 2015, Paraguay has committed to boost gender equality and has made progress in the implementation of the Public Policy Law for Rural Women, with more than 1,000 rural women trained on agriculture techniques and resource management. In 2016, the Law for Comprehensive Protection for Women against Any Kind of Violence was approved, and a task force to ensure its full implementation has been formed. Mbaracayú Forest Nature Reserve in Paraguay and Agricultural High School for Girls. Global Research Framework, Women’s Empowerment Strategic Impact Inquiry (January 19, 2006). CARE, USA. Kabeer, N., (2001) ‘Resources, Agency, Achievements: Refl ections on the Measurement of Women’s Empowerment’, pp 17-59 in Discussing Women’s Empowerment - Theory and Practice’, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Stockholm, Sweden 8 Stromquist, N. P. (2002) Education as a means for empowering women, in: J. Parpart, S. Rai & K. Staudt (Eds) Rethinking empowerment. Gender and development in a global/local world (London, Routledge), 22–38. 9 Medel-Anonuevo, Carolyn and Bettina Bochynek (1995). The International Seminar on Women’s Education and Empowerment, in Women, Education and Empowerment: Pathways towards Autonomy edited by Carolyn Medel-Anonuevo. UNESCO Institute for Education Studies 5, 1995: Hamburg, Germany. 10 Ramos, F. (2007) a. Life’s Structures and the Individual’s Voice: Making Sense of Women’s Words. In “The structure and agency of women’s education,” edited by Mary Ann Maslak. Albany: State University of New York Press. 11 Ramos, F. (2007) b. “Imaginary pictures, real life stories: The FotoDialogo method,” International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 20 (2) March- April 2007, pp. 191-224. 12 Malhotra, A. 2003. Conceptualizing and Measuring Women’s Empowerment as a Variable in International Development. 13 Helpdesk Research Report: Measuring Women’s Economic Empowerment, 2010. 7 32 • PARAGUAY 2019