Organizing for social change through cooperative action: The [dis]empowering dimensions of women's communication

Michael J. Papa, Arvind Singhal, Dattatray V. Ghanekar, Wendy H. Papa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The present article investigates a communication, education, and training intervention program intended to initiate a sense of empowerment among women dairy farmers in India. A conceptualization of communication and empowerment is offered. The empowering and disempowering dimensions of women's communication are highlighted through the participants' own words and experiences. Our analysis of the communicative dimensions of women's empowerment yields 3 important insights. First, women's empowerment is displayed through different forms of communication and feminist action, particularly when women organize to accomplish social change within their families and communities. Second, empowerment is embedded in democratic practices, especially when women discuss issues and make decisions that improve their quality of life. Third, paradox and contradiction are an important part of the empowerment process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-123
Number of pages34
JournalCommunication Theory
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2000


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