Movies are rollercoaster ride that have the tremendous power to entertain and to teach. They can be a powerful tool to bring about effective social change – true or false? It seems intuitive and logical that a well made film- especially one with a compelling narrative and well-crafted outreach plan would serve as a catalyst to change minds, encourage viewers to change entrenched behaviors, and start inform or reenergize social movements (Barrett and Leddy, Fledging Fund, Dec’08). But another group of people believe that it can be surprisingly difficult to make a firm connection between the power of a film and social change so the social impact of movies needs to be better understood and documented although it is important to note that not all films are intended to be agents of social change, nor should they be.
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Some are simply lovely moving stories whose primary purpose is to entertain and share a compelling story.
The concept of empowerment is inescapably tied to the idea of disempowerment and thus refers to the process by which those who have been denied the ability to make choices acquire such ability (Kabeer, 1999). Empowerment in essence entails a process of change. It refers to the expansion in people’s ability to make strategic life decisions in situations where earlier this ability was not given to them. Batliwala (1994) defines empowerment in terms of “how much influence people have over external actions that matter to their welfare”. The World Bank has identified empowerment as one the key development goals. The promotion of women’s empowerment is based on a dual argument, the first part of which states that social justice is a vital part of human welfare and that women’s empowerment in itself is a means to other ends. The most important element of empowerment is that it is a process (Kabeer 2001; Chen 1992; Rowlands 1995, Oxaal and Baden 1997). According to Jejeebhoy (1997), even though terms like autonomy and empowerment seem like similar concepts, there is an important line of difference between them. The former represents resemblance to a static state while latter is something that continuous to change over time. The concept of empowerment of women does not necessarily imply that a change in the position of women can be brought about only by their own action or that empowering themselves is the responsibility of individual women themselves. It is looked upon as a collective responsibility of every individual member of the society in his own regard as well the responsibility of various legal and political institutions. Most researchers believe that in order to bring about women empowerment it is imperative to have collective action in the public sphere. Individual actions when combined together can help bring about significant normative changes at a broader or societal level.
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