Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)
Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education
Women in Nicaragua are participating in educational processes that are aimed toward transforming gendered power relations by beginning with the basic principle of valorizing and building upon the experiential knowledge of the women. These processes have opened up important new ways of thinking about popular education. The purpose of this research was to study the relationship between education and political empowerment. For this reason I explored the impact of feminist popular education on the personal and social empowerment of poor women. Does this educational effort contribute to how women learn to empower themselves and develop a critical view of their lives and the world around them? Does it contribute to their ability to collectively organize? Are they moved to action? Does it provide them with a willingness and ability to participate in organizing struggles for the improvement of their lives? The researcher attended educational sessions and group meetings as a participant observer and conducted interviews with 17 purposely selected female participants in the High School for Experienced Adults program. The interviews were open-ended, guided by some general questions. In this way I allowed myself opportunities to pursue a range of topics and thus give each woman a chance to shape the content of the interview. Data were gathered from one field site. The findings indicate that the women at the Women's School are actively involved in efforts that contribute to their empowerment. Respondents stated that participation in the program had increased their self-esteem, yielding more negotiating power, which improved their ability to make decisions within their households. Uniting with other women helped them overcome isolation, share opinions, and question role behavior. This heightened sense of awareness is allowing them to analyze gender and class issues from a critical perspective. The program is effectively addressing the needs and concerns of poor women. The success of the program to provide the participants with a willingness and the skills to participate in organizing struggles for the improvement of their lives requires further study.
Kjellquist-Guti鲲ez, Karen, "Coming into their own : a study of a feminist adult education program in Esteli, Nicaragua" (2003). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 1845.
vii, 148 pages (some color pages), map
Northern Illinois University
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