109 Seiten, Note: 4.00 (very good)
CHAPTER 1. Introduction
1.1 Introduction of the Research
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Research Objectives
1.4 Research Questions
1.5 Significant of the Study
1.6 Organization of the Study
CHAPTER 2. Literature Review
2.1 Women Empowerment
2.2 Women in Education for Empowerment
2.3 Women Empowerment in South Asian Countries: Focusing on Bangladesh
2.4 Curriculum in Education
2.5 Theoretical Framework
Feminist Perspective and Empowerment
2.6 Conceptual Framework
2.7 Brief Introduction of AUW
CHAPTER 3. Methodology
3.1 Qualitative Approach: Case study
3.2 Selection of Participants
3.3 Data Collection Procedures
3.4 Data Analysis
3.5 Researcher ‘Stance’
3.6 Ethical Consideration and Validity
Reliability and Validity
CHAPTER 4. CASE STUDIES
4.1 Rimu, “AUW made me who I am today”
Life before AUW
Journey with AUW
Life after Graduation
Thoughts on Empowerment
4.2 Hanin, “I would say that this experience with AUW was the hardest and the best thing that happened in my life.”
Life before AUW
Journey with AUW
Her Thoughts on Empowerment
Life after Graduation
4.3 Hakima, “AUW made me realize what I want, apart from which community I come from.”
Life before AUW
Journey with AUW
Life after Graduation
Thoughts on Empowerment
4.4 Summary of the Findings
CHAPTER 5. Findings
5.1 Early Influences
5.2 University Curriculum
5.3. Individual Influences
Obstacles and Challenges
CHAPTER 6. Discussion and Conclusion
6.1 Empowerment and Personal Improvement
6.2 Empowerment and Career Development
This thesis is centered on few extraordinary female student’s perceptions based on their academic and personal experience on a woman university which is located in Bangladesh. Historically, in terms of schooling and quality education, women are somehow deprived and lacks behind men everywhere around the world especially in Asian and Muslim countries. In this thesis, the stories of three students from a woman university will be portrayed with the purpose of finding out how empowering teaching method and influencing diverse environment can transform female students into a powerful individual and responsive to the community. Through this paper, the concept of empowerment and its application on female students will be analyzed from various aspects. In the literature review, various barriers in terms of patriarchal ideologies, social construction on gender, gender inequalities in education, the overall picture of woman education focusing on Asian and Muslim countries will be enlightened. In the second chapter, through empowerment and feminist theory, the story of three female students will be characterized following methodologies used to find out the experience. These students experience based on the woman university will be embodied through case studies and the outcomes will be revealed based on themes and sub-themes. Discussion on finding will constantly relate back to the literature review and theories with a possible result of empowerment education creating effective and responsive female students for community development.
Keywords: gender inequality, women empowerment, higher education
赋权教育对女生的影响：对孟加拉一所女子大学的个案研究 本文围绕着几位非凡的女学生根据他们在孟加拉国女子大学的学术和个人经历的看法。 从历史上看，在学校教育和素质教育方面，世界各地的女性在某种程度上被剥夺和缺乏，尤其是在亚洲和穆斯林国家。在本论文中，将描述女子大学三名学生的故事，目的在于了解赋权教学方法和影响多元环境如何将女学生转变为强大的个体并对社区做出回应。 通过本文，将从多方面分析赋权概念及其在女大学生中的应用。在文献综述中，家长制意识形态，性别社会建构，教育中性别不平等，妇女教育以亚洲和穆斯林国家为重点的整体情况等各方面的障碍都将得到启发。 在第二章中，通过授权和女权主义理论，三位女学生的故事将按照用于找出经验的方法来描述。 这些以女子大学为基础的学生体验将通过案例研究来体现，并根据主题和次主题展现成果。关于寻找的讨论将不断与文献综述和理论联系起来，以及授权教育可能产生的结果，为社区发展创造有效和有回应的女学生。 关键词：妇女赋权，妇女高等教育，性别不平等。
“If Women are to contribute effectively to national development into the twenty-first century, “the fundamental question is whether they will be sufficiently equipped to participate fully by receiving a quality education that will prepare them to enter in any field, expose them to science, technology, and communications and stimulate their creativity” (Mahtab, 2012)
Women and Education is a well-researched and attention gripping topic in social science research field. The importance of higher education for women has been paid great attention in all developed European countries. One of the outstanding change in this century is the rapid development of higher education for women. This trend has affected South Asian countries as well because of globalization and economical development. Some developed Asian countries like China, Japan, and Malaysia have already developed the platform for women higher education. However, some developing countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Vietnam and also war-affected countries like Afghanistan, Palestine women face many difficulties and cultural barrier for higher education, especially women from the rural area. This paper is going to focus on the issue of higher education for women and how women can be empowered through higher educational system focusing on women empowerment.
The aim of this study is to show how women can be motivated by higher education to participate in the corporate world. This study is going to conduct a research on the only women university in Bangladesh. It is one of the two international universities in Bangladesh which have international students. In this study, this university is going to be addressed by its first initials which are AUW. It is a Liberal Arts University and its aim to teach leadership vulnerable women from developing countries in Asia. It seeks to educate women to become highly motivated and effective professional, leaders and service-oriented citizens. It also aims to bring highly talented women from diverse religious and cultural background who do not have the ability to pursue higher education (AUW, n.d.). Almost, 85% of students engage in the highly professional job and leadership position after graduating and the report of AUW says that they all are achieving remarkable success in their job sector (AUW, n.d.). On the other hand, most of the university in Bangladesh, women are participating in higher education, but most of them drop out on the halfway or after graduating they tend to not to engage in corporate level or job career (Kabir & Haider, 2012).
This research will try to focus on the curriculum and motivation in used by AUW that helps women to achieve a higher goal. For example, women student from war-affected countries like Afghanistan and Palestine are performing really well despite having lots of difficulties. Not only they are doing well, but also they are getting jobs in the well-known organization after graduating. The case study has been conducted on few students from AUW with the target to find out the influences that work behind the student’s higher achievements. The research topic is the influences of empowerment education on female students: a case study of the only women university in Bangladesh
Even though, due to economic need women are participating in higher education at a higher rate than before. Nevertheless, there are many complications women have to contend with family, society and also educational context. The overall environment creates countless barriers due to cultural context and furthermore these outcomes drives women to drop out or not to participate in higher achievement(Khan, 1989). Many factors work as a barrier for higher education for SA females such as family education, family income, religion, environment, geography, socio-economic perspective, the political situation of the country and other factors will be briefly analyzed in this study.
According to many research women, participation in the employment level including government services, administration, bank job, and teaching is much lesser than man due to the complication from socio-cultural level (Mills, 2003). Women who can overcome this barrier depends upon their family support, educational level, willingness and also the job position she holds after graduating, so all notions are equally connected with each which will be analyzed from every corner(Khan, 1989). And lack of focus on the issue of women getting higher education and lack of higher educational institutions which provides women approachable educational environment make it a significant issue which needs to be focused on. Around the South Asian developing countries, there is no university that put the focus on women empowerment in higher education. Consequently, a research needs to be done to develop institutions where South Asian women can have a safe and encouraging environment and given opportunities to achieve the higher goal through higher education.
The main objective of this study is to investigate how AUW treats women and how the university environment is motivating female students particularly from rural or conflicting areas with social and cultural barriers, to achieve higher grades and accomplish their goals after graduation. Furthermore, this study will also examine the perception of few students who graduated from AUW in order to provide deeper insight and better understanding. The purpose of this study is to not only to look at the positive effect but also to look at the overall image of this university.
Since the research is based only AUW and purpose of the study is to find out the overall environment of the institute which assist and inspire female students to do well, so the research question will focus on various perspectives grounded on this institute. The foremost question will be as follows; How are female students motivated to achieve a higher goal in career through a curriculum and training which based on empowerment education in AUW?
Considering the fact that women study holds significance portion of refining socio- economic perspective, research in women education is a subject needed to look into. There are few studies that have been done based on feminist criteria, however, there are very few studies conducted on the higher education of a female student from Asian countries. On the other hand, women empowerment depends on female higher education and women from SA countries has less access and opportunities to it comparing to women from western countries (Kinias & Kim, 2012). This study is significant because it will not focus on finding a solution for women higher educational contribution, but it will rather focus on exploring what is their perception on the AUW curriculum and what is the AUW role in motivating these female students to empower as an individual.
This paper is organized into six Chapter. The first chapter covers the introduction part which contains introduction of the research, statement of the problem, research objectives, research questions, significant of the study and organization of the study. The second chapter is a literature review. This chapter contains six-part which is as follows; women empowerment, and women empowerment for education, women empowerment in South Asian Countries, curriculum in education, theoretical framework, and conceptual framework, and brief information of AUW.
After this chapter the methodology of this study has described with several parts as follows; Qualitative approach: a Case study, selection of participants, data collection procedures, data analysis, researcher’ stance, ethical consideration and validity. Chapter five contains three case study, in this chapter three participants interview, were written elaborately with sub-categories. In chapter six the findings and analysis of the findings are discussed with four emerging major themes and sub-sections under the themes. The themes are as follows: early influences, university curriculum, individual influences, and obstacles and challenges. Chapter six contains discussion and conclusion. This chapter contains four-part which is, empowerment and personal improvement, empowerment and career development, recommendation and limitation.
This chapter seeks to review literature related to this study. Firstly, the historical background of gender inequality, its effect on the world and specifically South Asian countries. Also, the effects of gender inequality on the educational and economic sectors of the economy will also be discussed. In addition to this, the importance of equality in education so as achieve economic growth will be reviewed.
Women empowerment is a concept and the meaning is imprecise which makes it difficult to translate it into certain aspects based on any situation. Because it covers a large range of ideas, so implying it into the specific situation is quite tough. So far, based on all theories, the general concept of empowerment has contained the sense of control over one’s life, the ability to make choices and live upon those choices. Also, it’s initiated a degree of individuality or autonomy (Pavanello, Pozarny, Paula De La, & Campos, 2015).
According to Douglas and Zimmerman (1995), it refers to increasing the spiritual, political, social or economic strength of individual’s personality and communities. Sometimes it involves the empowered developing confidence in their own capacities(Douglas & Zimmerman, 1995). They indicated that there are certain attributes such as having economic security and attaining a higher level of education associated with an empowered person which may be different from a person who is not empowered. Following capabilities can be trailed to bring individual women empowerment:
Moreover, Douglas et al. (1995) mentioned that empowerment can also be a function of an environment. An empowering environment is one that compliment and enhances those actions and attributes that reflect individual empowerment. For example, a woman can wish to work outside the home because this environment encourages and strengths her to move forward and achieve she wants to.
This environment can be a supported family, a community that sees that believes in educating a woman and encouraging them to attain that point of self-actualization. Furthermore, it could also be a workplace that encourages and facilitates women working. The reverse effect that an empowered individual may be able to make an environment empowering should also be true. Studies have shown that the empowering environment encourages a woman to involve in the work outside the home or being self-dependent about her (Mahtab, 2012). In short, it can be concluded that women empowerment could be broadly influenced by the environment as well as the family and the surrounding.
According to Zimmerman, the manner in which such autonomy might find expression can and does vary tremendously across different cultural contexts so that it is difficult to have a cultural context-free definition harmonized for all groups and countries. Without trying to attempt a comprehensive definition it is in this sense of exercising control over one’s life choices (Douglas & Zimmerman, 1995).
Especially for most of the developing countries, empowerment of women is not a new concept which was originated mostly from the studies of the third world countries (Tapash, 2002). This is because, in most of the developing countries, poverty, lack of education and training, lack of health, violence, conflict negatively affected the women population, lack of women power and involvement in decision making and human rights abuse considered as the indicators of lack of empowerment. (Douglas & Zimmerman, 1995).
However, recently, as the realization of the socio-economic backwardness of women, recently, more emphasis has been given to women empowerment, it has been getting women into a higher position that oversees decision-making affecting society and polity. In other words, empowerment makes a woman free from religious orthodoxy, polygamy, rape, child, marriage, unequal marriage and forced pregnancy (Tapash, 2002). Therefore, women should be given freedom of choice for self-fulfillment and self-development as well equal access to domestic and community resources, opportunities, and power with women empowerment (“Gender Equality Strategy 2014-2017 | UNDP,” n.d.).
Despite a lot of improvement for women’s status in society, the norms and values of society and families still create a barrier for them to go forward for higher studies. According to various studies, there are three groups of interrelated and interacting factors that obstruct Women’s equal participation in education. These are Gender discriminatory and patriarchal attitudes influence on Socio-Cultural restrictions; Poverty; Systematic inadequacy. All these factors coupled with the very low female literacy rate, make the role of education very important and challenging(Flood & Pease, 2009).
Mehta (1979) analyzed many approaches towards the several sectors in life-based on a woman such as family, education, marriage, jobs and social and cultural life, and politics for women (Mehta, 1979). Mehta (1979) said that ‘there is a greater woman behind every great man’. She argued that women possess a slightly inferior position to man in physical and mental capacities.in the present patriarchal society.
In other words, by and large, women have been accorded an unequal and inferior social status. Discrimination at birth, lack of equal participation in all spheres of life, such as equal access to education, employment opportunities, coupled with retrograde social practices like child marriage, victims of dowry, women experience deprivation and disadvantages throughout their lives(Khan, 1989). Furthermore, they face not only gender discrimination of varying degrees and types at all levels but also suffer from different types of violence, ranging from sexual harassment to murder.
Therefore, at present, there is an increasing awareness, at all levels and all sectors, of the need to empower women in order to raise their status in the society. It is strongly asserted that providing education to women who have been denied opportunities would bring positive and desired changes in the lives of these women. Intense efforts are being made to enhance the enrolment of women at all levels of education, including higher education (Mahtab, 2012). As of women in education in history, it mentioned from Plato who is one of the beginners of coming up with female education(Williams, 2010). However, the early part of studies regarding female education was regarded as incidental for men’s education in the studies. For example, Rousseau has indicated the female education as the pleasure of men, which means female education was mainly based on men’s satisfaction or to satisfy a man (Plamenatz, 1972). However, the perspectives from studies for female education have been changed. For example, Paulo Freire highlighted on the education for a marginalized and deprived group of people to participate in the national aspect(“Paulo-Freire-Education-for- Critical-Consciousness-Continuum-Impacts-2005,”n.d.). In other words, education regardless of who receives it contributes to the development and especially when women marginalized are the recipients, the benefits are even more apparent.
According to WOMEN IN EDUCATION. (1916), it is argued that female education is the most important predictor of their empowerment and the foundation of their development. They improved many elements through education such as flexibility, decision making power, independence, possession of household assets, freedom from domination of the household, taking part in earning for family income and spending, decision on reproduction, awareness of legal authorities and politics, access to information and media, active participation in social development activities.
In addition, highly educated women making higher income get more preference in her family (“Women in Higher Education” n.d.). As women with a higher degree and higher income position can have a strong position on their family decision making, the opinions of the female higher educated women get preference(Bhat, 2015). Also, more years of schooling provide a woman higher exposure to the world and the society which increases their awareness level, decision making power, negotiating capability, choice of freedom and economic security (Tapsh, 2004). As a result, women can get success in their future career if they have adequate access and sustainable support towards higher education. (Jahan, 1996) argued that increasing education of women and girls contribute to their greater empowerment by increasing income, promotes health and increases productivity. That is, women education can bring an educated nation, so improving girls educational level has been established to have clear impacts on the health and economic future of young women which in return improves the scenario of their entire community(Kabir & Haider, 2012).
Marry Wollstonecraft even stated in her book A Vindication of Rights of Women that women should get the opportunity to participate not only in formal education, also in rational education to improve personally(“Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman,” n.d.). In addition, it was proved that if a women get family support to get a higher education, they can exceed further development in their abilities and power(“Women in Higher Education” n.d.).
Bangladesh, one of the smallest countries in South Asian, is a densely populated county with a population of about 162 million(The World Bank, 2013) It is an agricultural country and Poverty is deep and broad in this country. Therefore, the country still dealing with it. In recent years, it has decreased population growth and improved health condition. According to the report from WHO in 2005, the male and female ratio is 100.3:100 which means women represent 50% of this country’s population. Since it is a patriarchal society, the gender gap is deeply rooted in this country’s culture.
Knowledge, customs, skills, norms, and values are intentionally influenced by the society’s rules and regulations and this is transmitted from generation to generation. As many of South Asian nations shared a common history of colonization and nation-making, similar cultural struggles, women from South Asian countries shares quite similar societal values and cultural barriers to education, this study will not only base on female students from Bangladesh but also some other South Asian countries. I will explain here some of the cultural barriers that still exist in people’s mind which causes the large gender differentials in educational enrollments that exist in most South Asian countries but focusing on the context of Bangladesh(Kabir & Haider, 2012).
Mahtab (2012) discussed overall women’s situation in Bangladesh. With data concerning female education in The People's Republic of Bangladesh, she argued that the educational standing of women within the instruction in Bangladesh is not satisfied with the judgment of diverse areas of the world (Mahtab, 2012). For example, in the field of higher education, only 19% of women were in higher education. In addition, the number of female students in the agricultural and the Engineering constituted 12% and 11% of female students respectively (“Gender Equality Strategy 2014-2017 | UNDP,” n.d.) She insisted that Bangladesh is for the male-controlled society and the contribution from women is not acceptable. There were two main aspects influencing women education in Bangladesh: Cultural norms and political view.
According to the report from World Bank (2014), cultural norms are the one of important aspect behind the negative efficacy from Female education (World Bank, 2014). In other words, one of the main reasons women facing indirect and direct barriers from households and families was that cultural norms, suggesting that female education raises some facts which go against cultural norms practiced and rooted in people’s mind (Jayachandran, 2015).
For example, according to the norms in South Asian countries, marriage is considered to be a major role for women. Akhter (“Women in Higher Education ” n.d.) studied on higher education of married women and the influence of the female members from both their husband’s family and father’s house. This study revealed that idea of women being marriage material was regarded valued and referenced in Bangladesh.
Thus, most of the time educated women were even derived to go for arranged marriage where they were implicitly given tremendous household workloads and responsibility. Consequently, it prevented them from working or taking an administrative role in working place. Therefore, these norms directed patriarchal society toward the belief that female education has direct or indirect high cost to the society.
Also, there was a strong belief that higher education can make women less appropriate on the marriage market because educated women can be less willing to carry the tremendous workload usually expected from Asian wives. Therefore, in marriage market even highly educated male search for the uneducated bride so that they can take the workload and can be easily controlled or motivated by the spouse’s family (World Bank). Therefore, women were somehow discouraged to get a higher education in most patriarchal Asian society. As a result, in most South Asian countries women tended to get married after finishing high school (Firdous and Maheen, 2010).
The other important aspect of women education in Bangladesh was political view for women. Fyzennessa(1995) studied the female students in two halls Dhaka University which is the central Government university in Bangladesh. The study additionally analyzed whether or not the female students of D.U. are influenced by politics have undergone any socio- political changes, like attaining freedom from family restraints breaking the barriers of seclusion and dependence on parents and different aged persons within the family etc. (Noorunnahar Fyzennessa, 1995). The finding showed that students in this university were highly involved in politics and this political environment caused conflicts and violence among students. This conflict creates an unsafe situation for female students.
Nevertheless, Jahan (1996) argued the importance of the inclusion of women in the development of Bangladesh based on education. She mentioned that as organization and consciousness rising have been on the women’s agenda all along, self-employment gained salience as a critical strategy from the 1980s. Mahtab(2012) also showed the positive aspect of women in education, which is the participation level of women in higher education is increasing day by day. Women’s agenda including their rights in eight sectors presented by Jahan Jahan (1996) are provided below:
- Rights including legal equality, Enforcement, Awareness-raising
- Entitlement means access to and control over productive resources and services
- Investment including the elimination of the gender gap in human development and support for gender needs
- The voice that means decision making and women’s vision of alternative development agenda
- Reproductive labor
- Lastly the Empowerment
What kind of curriculum should we offer to learners? As educational institutes are based on curriculum organization, the curriculum is often one of the main concerns in the educational field. That is the curriculum is frequently considered as the main basis for education. Su (2012a) presented relevant literature associated with the term “curriculum” to help clarify what is the entity that we need to be concerned about in the school context
Educators and teachers are concerned about what choices are to make about teaching content and methods(Su, 2012a). “Curriculum” looks to be thought of nice as what educators are planning to teach and, in alternative words, what learners are planning to learn (Su, 2012a). In fact, “curriculum” is additionally closely associated with how well the learners learn—the outcomes. Thus, as an umbrella term, “curriculum” includes lots of problems, as an example, teaching the curriculum, learning the curriculum, testing curriculum, administrative curriculum and therefore called as the hidden curriculum. In this section, the curriculum is explained as formal curriculum and hidden curriculum.
The curriculum can be understood as a process of selecting courses of study or content (Su, 2012b). In this sense, a course of study conjointly either describes or prescribes the content and goals of formal instruction, however, lays the suggest that of instruction out of the foreground of focus. Though this use of the course of study seems the same as the preceding (Akker, 2003) defined curricula as a collection of objectives in terms of the inclusion of goals, in fact, there's a unique focus. The definition of him emphasizes target content instead of learning objectives. He presented curriculum as three types as followed: plans, documents, and experiences.
As of curricula as plans, a curriculum is often seen as an inspiration or a kind of blueprint for consistently implementing instructional activities. This sense of the term combines content with educational strategies and therefore features a wider scope than the previous two curricular paradigms due to the inclusion of methods.
On the other hand, curriculum as a document an overview of a course program is written on a piece of paper. The presentation of the document purports to produce academics with a model to follow the curriculum method. In this sense, the curriculum is similar to the term, “syllabus”. Thus, the topic matter provided for college students, the actions of academics (attitudes and motivations) within the schoolroom, the actions of students (reactions, attitudes, and motivation), and therefore the tutorial materials can all be understood as aspects of the experiential curriculum.
Lastly, as experiences, it can be rather than concerning curricula narrowly as formalized room content or prescriptive learning objectives, it's going to be helpful to think about them more holistically as programs for experiences
This line of interpretation of curriculum provides rise to its link to “hidden curriculum,” which is a term describing the unwritten social rules and expectations of behavior. These are typically not instructed directly, however, are assumed to be known(Su, 2012a). To more complicate the matter, “hidden curriculum” embraces a powerful bond with culture, particularly within the context of teaching and learning a language, as language and culture
While “curriculum” is an interactive method developed among learners, teachers, materials, and therefore the surroundings, it functions as a mirror that reflects cultural beliefs, social and political values and therefore the organization. “Hidden curriculum” contains underestimated the importance of the dynamics of human interactions in structure behavior that are unobservable, however, have a strong influence on institutional culture/climate. In this sense, culture refers to the values and symbols that have an effect on structural climate.
Using a cultural lens, we are able to begin to treat curriculum not even as an object (content), however as a series of interlinking dynamics. curriculum conceptualized as culture educates us to concentrate to belief systems, values, behaviors, language, creative expression, the surroundings within which education takes place, power relationships, and most significantly, the norms that have an effect on our sense concerning what's right or appropriate(Zimmerman, 2000).
Several cultures have implicit rules involving eye contacts, proximity, gestures, and ways that of addressing individuals. Some cultures are high-context cultures wherever non- verbal cues are more vital than the words that are same, whereas in low-context cultures, words, instead of non-verbal cues, express the importance that means of the speech communication (Zimmerman, 2000). The foundations involving the non-verbal are all subsumed within the culture-related expertise. During this light, curricula will even be conceptualized as generally as a culture.
The reason why hidden curriculum or learning culture counts lies in its vital role in cultivating wholesome, successful students. The substance of hidden curriculum is learning acquired “by default” through participation in the activities of an establishment, instead of by what has been directly instructed (Su, 2012b).
As “hidden curriculum” includes factors of social acceptableness, vulnerability, safety, anxiety, and self-image, it's crucial for the scholars to grasp the world because the understanding empowers them to manage the world around them (Su, 2012b).
In this chapter, we will discuss Empowerment and Feminist theory which are going to base on this Study.
Empowerment theory is based on contexts of life conception, including the processes of empowerment and selection of alternative ideas, such as self-esteem, self-efficacy or the administration of energy. Theoretically, the concept links to the psychological state which actually struggles to form a responsive community. Consistent with Zimmerman empowerment analysis focuses on distinguishing capabilities rather than cataloging risk factors and exploring environmental influences of social issues rather than blaming victims (Douglas & Zimmerman, 1995).
Zimmerman additionally expressed that “Empowerment-oriented interventions enhance wellbeing whereas they also improve issues, give opportunities for participants to develop information and skills, and engaging professionals as a collaboration rather than authoritative specialists.” This statement is correlative with the institution analyzing it from its teaching strategies and social activities and outcome (Douglas & Zimmerman, 1995). Theories of empowerment embody each process and outcomes, suggesting that actions, activities, or structures are also empowering and that the result of such method leads to a level of being empowered (Douglas & Zimmerman, 1995).
Empowerment is intentional, in progress method focused within the local people, involving mutual respect, important reflection, caring, and involvement, through which individuals lacking an equal share of valued resources gain bigger access and group over those resources (Cornell a group, 1989). Empowerment could also be seen as a process where individuals learn to visualize a more in-depth correspondence between their goals and a sense of the way to accomplish them, and a relationship between their efforts and life outcomes (Mechanic, 1991). Empowerment suggests that participation with others to attain goals to realize access to resources, and a few important understandings of the sociopolitical atmosphere are basic elements of the construct. Applying this general framework to a structure method and structures that enhance member participation and improve a goal action for the organization. (Douglas & Zimmerman, 1995).
Conceptualizing empowerment as a process many theorists have originated out the stages or subprocess of empowerment is. According to them, empowerment consists at least four subprocesses: Increasing self-efficacy, developing a critical consciousness, developing skills of reflection and action, and becoming involved with similar others. Later Gutierrez and Lewis proposed three stages of empowerment: consciousness, confidence, and connection. (Carr, 2003)
According to Carr, “Integrating current feminist conceptualization of consciousness, identity, and agency, it is possible to visualize a distinct model of empowerment”. Which means based on the current feminist concept of consciousness, identity and agency, a model of empowerment can be pictured. Carr stated, “In this model, the status of empowerment is considered not as linear but as reciprocally reinforcing and interconnecting subprocess” (Carr, 2003). Therefore, empowerment is not a linear process but it a continual reinforcing and interconnecting subprocess. According to Carr, “Freire’s and feminist’s ideas on praxis have clearly influenced some contemporary theorists of empowerment, who have relied on the notion of praxis to describe how stages of empowerment are circular and mutually reinforcing.” Referring back to this work, the next chapter the man of the empowerment process and its various constituent elements will be described.
The Process of Empowerment (“EDITORIAL Globalization as a Women’s Issue,” 2003) This theory is kind of interrelated with the institution’s program because the goal of AUW’s curriculum is to produce a female responsive community and leaders.
Tuner (2015) has indicated the development of the feminist perspective among the women in the several decades. He discussed several types of feminist perspective including the radical, modern, and post-modern regarding women. This book includes the comparison of feminist politics and women-centered politics.
Turner said, “Empowerment has become an essential part of feminism and seeks to increase the personal, interpersonal, and political power of oppressed and marginalized populations for individual and collective transformation” (Turner & Maschi, 2015). Empowerment and Feminism are interrelating because empowerment is a process which tries to give power to the powerlessness and feminism address the issues of oppressed and marginalized people. The concept of social individuality makes the feminist struggles clear.
Carr said, “The woman is an individual within the social reality in which she grows up and develops with the contradictions between her and society(Carr, 2003)” Society’s production and maintenance are done by subordinates whose work are most of the time invisible. And the reason behind it is our social dominant ideology. Society expects women to be responsible for the domestic domain and also motherboard which has no economic value. As a result, the woman is oppressed and marginalized and needed to get empowered to organize social change. “The powerlessness of one woman, which changes by means of her activism in collaboration with others in her situation is a process that empowers the entire community of women” (Sadan, chapter 3). Feminist theory addresses those who are not considered as individuals and without complaint, they accept people interpretations of their own actions and failure(Carr, 2003). Feminist theory is to question the categorization created by the discipline which is basically created by man. According to Sadan, the aim of empowerment is to generate alternative concepts to create an equal environment for individual and deprived subordinate subjects.
This two theory is related with empowerment education for women because women are considered to be oppressed and marginalized subject and based on this two theory we can scrutinize how women can be empowered through education and power themselves as individuals and also improve the others in sharing similar deprivation.
In this conceptual framework, the main idea is the university and its empowerment- based education. The empowerment-based education is connected through two theories; Empowerment Theory and Feminist Theory. Empowerment education is based on curriculum, which is divided into two part; formal and hidden curriculum. Formal Curriculum is course based organized activities and the hidden curriculum is extra-curricular activities and the culture of the university. Impact of this two curriculum is student's self-esteem, Confidence, Personal Expression improvement.
The only women university around the South Asian region was started in 2008 and today has approximately 700 students from 15 countries and many cultural and religious backgrounds in the undergraduate program. For this study, the initial letter of this university’s name is going to be used. The basic objective of this university is to graduate women from different countries, who will be skilled and innovative specialists, service-oriented leaders in the businesses and communities in which they will work and live. Also, they will be promoters of intercultural understanding and sustainable human and economic development in Asia and throughout the world (AUW, n.d.).
The goal of the curriculum is to basically empower the students. The main focus is to provide each student with the breadth of knowledge and skills to pursue stimulating and rewarding careers and lead an interesting life. The combination of both abstract and applied studies encourages students to link theoretical understanding with contemporary issues and challenges facing Asia and the world. The university curriculum consists of the main program, the main course, an optional and optional secondary course.
This university requires students to take courses in social analysis, ethical reasoning, literature, studies of civilization and the arts, science, and mathematics, computer writing and intensive rhetorical seminars and regional challenges (AUW, n.d.). It also trains students with physical courses for self-defense like Karate and Taekwondo. Cultural activities and creative programs are arranged to encourage students and give them entertaining environment. The university focuses on enriching student life outside of the classroom by facilitating all out-of-class extra and co-curricular activities. Through all of these activities, the university works to support student learning and foster a sense of empowerment and leadership among the students of AUW.
This study investigates the individual experiences of living and studying in empowered or unique educational environment of AUW. In this chapter, the methodology used in this study including research approach, the way of sampling, data collection procedures, and data analysis will be mentioned in this chapter.
The qualitative approach helps the researcher to gain an in-depth understanding of participants. Merriam(1998) described characteristics of qualitative research as focused, descriptive, and heuristic. She also identified seven main assumptions to qualitative research as followed: 1) Key concern of qualitative research understands the phenomenon from the participants’ perspectives. 2) The researcher is a primary instrument for collecting and analyzing the data. 3) Qualitative research typically involves fieldwork by the researcher. 4) Qualitative research uses an inductive reasoning. 5) Qualitative research is descriptive. 6) The design should flexible, meaning the study should be able to change if needed. 7) Qualitative sample selection is usually purposeful and non-random. As this study focused on perspectives from participants regarding studying in an empowerment educational environment and the process of being empowered, this study is suitable for using qualitative approach.
Among many qualitative methods, a case study is employed for this research. According to (Creswell & Preceded by: Creswell, 2013)) described the characteristics of case study as followed: “The researcher explores a single entity or phenomenon (the case) bounded by time and activity (a program, event, process, institution, or social group) and collects detailed information by using a variety of data collection procedures, during a sustained period of time”. In addition, Yin (2002) stated that, especially when the researcher has little control over the phenomenon and context because of the ambiguous boundaries between a phenomenon and context, a case study is a good method for understanding a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context. Also, according to (Merriam, 1998), there is no right answer to the question: “How many participants are enough for the interview?”. As an example, the study of Berkenkotter, Huckin, and Ackerman (1988) had only one participant in their study. Merriam(1998) argued that as a qualitative study, the focus should be on quality not on quantity. In addition, (Stake, 1995) noted that once it involves case studies for the study, the most necessary thing for researchers is to concentrate on the smallest details. Merriam(1998) also mentioned that case study emphasizes description and exploration rather than discovering universal truths.
Therefore, this study used the case study as a research method, as the aim of this study is to examine comparatively empowering educational system’s effect on students, specializing in a small range of individuals. By investigating students’ experiences empowered by the education system throughout their journey at AUW, it helps for the reader to understand the empowering education of AUW and facilitate to better perceive a certain phenomenon, which shed new light on the existence of empowering educational system for women to achieve the higher goal in their personal life.
For selecting participants in this study, purposeful sampling was used. Purposeful sampling is that used to pick the only specific part of the group whose experience has relevance for the study, which is applicable for qualitative research (Charles, 1988). In order to identify qualified participants for this study whose experiences are valuable for the study, the criteria were set up. Thus, when participants who meet all qualifications for the criteria, they were chosen as the participants in this study. The researcher used the best judgment to see that elements of the population should be included and which not. The criteria for the selection of participant in this study is as followed:
- Participants from challenging context such as lack of educational opportunity, cultural and religious barriers etc.
- Participants with academic achievements and active role in their own society.
- Participants who have already graduated from AUW.
As almost all of them study abroad or working after graduating school, it was hard to find appropriate participants. So few students responded and agreed to give some time out of their busy schedule for this interview. However, as a former student from the university, I was able to use connections with students. With this procedure, three students participated in the interview. They were from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Palestine. In addition, the pseudonym was used for each participant. Basic information about participants are as shown above.
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For this study, a semi-structured interview was used as a data collection. A semi- structured in-depth interview is usually one in which the interviewer has a checklist of topic areas of questions. The intention is to get the informants attacked in their own terms; hence, questions tend not to be too specific allowing for a range of possible responses. By using the semi-structured in-depth interviewing method, I facilitated to explore complex relationship of female student’s experience and influences of the certain curriculum and educational system.
Based on participants’ availability, an interview schedule was fixed. Each participant was informed regarding this study briefly via email and messenger for the interview. Before starting the interview with participants, all of the participants voluntarily agreed on the student consent form and then, the interview was conducted in English. It took approximately 1.5 hours and all the contents of interviews were recorded. Also while conducting the semi-structured interviews, the content of the interview was noted by the researcher.
In order to fully understand the participant's experience during AUW, the interview questions were divided in terms of their background, why they chose AUW and its influence on their later life. Each participant was asked about the experiences from accessing into Academy to final year in AUW. The questions consist of student’s personal perspectives of AUW’s educational system, its impact on their personality and career, questions related to the academic quality, what motivated them to choose AUW. Their over-all journey with AUW was the main focus among the questions.
During interviews, the three participants shared their academic and personal influences based on undergrad life at AUW to gain knowledge of the motivation and influences of this university. Details of who they thought they were and who they are now their beliefs and values, and lastly how they have transformed through the experience of studying and living at AUW have transcribed in the record.
The interviews took the form of friend-to-friend talks. In addition, with interviews, often conversation was happening to participants in form of daily chats, which also deepened the understanding of their lives and their present life. Participants shared the in-depth five years’ experience with AUW and its impact on their current situation. Even after conducting the interview, I kept in touch with them and getting update information about their educational/working life by adding them as friends on Facebook or WeChat.
Qualitative Data Analysis (QDA) consists of three parts: noticing, collecting and thinking about interesting things(Seidel, John V. (1998) | WT Grant Foundation Mixed Methods Resources,” n.d.). Compared to quantitative data analysis, QDA is usually a non- linear process, because as the investigator analyze data and might notice something that hasn’t been noticed before and would go back and collect more date or while collecting the researcher will notice something missing, so it goes more in circled than as a linear process.
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Workflow of Qualitative Data Analysis, adapted from Seidel, John V. (1998)
There is no concrete moment where data analysis starts, as Seidel proposed it is a circle of collecting, noticing and analyzing and at any moment we can go back to another stage. It should be mentioned that in qualitative studies, data analysis is never a separate stage of the research. It even begins with interviews and continues throughout the research process(Hammersley & Atkinson, 2010). Analysis means to take something apart and to give it a new meaning, in this case, this inquiry took the four participants’ experiences based on AUW, and previous close observation and connection on them gave them a new meaning.
Personally knowing them by studying and sharing same institutional environment for more than four years, also keeping the connection and chatting with the three participants, all of these facilitated to obtain rich data about the participants' honest perception on AUW’s education. Learning about their concerns and feelings based on their academic and personal experiences.
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