Enabling Marginalized Women to Critically Address Issues of Power and Identity
A blog inspired by Duncan, G., & Ridley-Duff, R. (2014). Appreciative inquiry as a method of transforming identity and power in Pakistani women. Action Research, 12(2), 117-135.
Many women from the Middle East face many issues with power and identity. For example, law, culture and even family may try to obscure the identity of women, and in the process also rob them of their human rights. Some of these women are marginalized and find it difficult to speak, share, and write about their experiences. Thinking about their rights in this life may seem like a luxury! The sad truth is many of these women do not know that some of their dreams, such as education, work, and equality, are actually rights.
I am a woman who cares about how we can help women in the Middle East to face deep challenges, such as injustice, inequality and marginalization. Duncan and Ridley were working in a three-year acti
on research project to help marginalized women from Pakistan who are now living in Sheffield, UK, to be able to present themselves and also be able to solve basic issues through improving their critical thinking. This project faced many difficulties, but in the end it helped in bringing about a significant transformation in the ability of participants to develop critical thinking; enabling them to subvert and challenge the identities that had been constructed for them by sources of power within their community and culture.
These authors gave two very important messages about methodologies for researchers who have passion to work with women issues. First, they emphasize how storytelling as a methodology can enable expression of hidden stories that may help identities to emerge. In fact, the women (participants) in the study said that the most powerful aspect of the research was sharing and discussing their stories in an environment that felt safe and confidential. Second, the authors highlight how critical reflection is not an abstract exercise, but one that is grounded in relationships. Yet when not grounded in relationships, critical reflection may be much less transformational.
Without addressing women issues we will not have healthy communities. Supporting women is the first step to develop any country. This article helps researchers know about the importance of Action Research as a good method to make a change through supporting marginalized women to be able to face issues of power critically.
Blog post by Eyman Saad
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