The empowerment of women concerns women gaining power and control over their own lives. It involves awareness-raising, building self-confidence, expansion of choices, increased access to and control over resources and actions to transform the structures and institutions which reinforce and perpetuate gender discrimination and inequality. The process of empowerment is as important as the goal and means that women must not only have equal capacity (such as education and health) and equal access to means and opportunities (such as land and employment) but that they must also be given the opportunity to use these rights, capacities, means and opportunities to make strategic choices and to take decisions (by means of leadership opportunities and by participation in political institutions).
Empowerment comes from within; women empower themselves. Nevertheless, international development institutions like Enabel can put in place and support processes that promote the empowerment of individuals and groups.