The range of interventions relevant to this question is extremely broad, and this review therefore presents a limited number of examples in the following areas: microfinance, cash transfers, technology and skills development, labour market interventions, and land and inheritance rights. Research into the impacts of interventions aimed at increasing access to economic opportunities mostly exists in relation to women’s empowerment, and even then the impacts are rarely expressed in terms of ‘power relations’. In this review the bulk of the interventions presented are aimed at women (who are also often further marginalised by their location and class).
The ‘changes in power relations’ presented here refer to macro-level changes in levels of inequality, community-level changes in levels of political participation and status, and household-level changes in the way men and women relate to each other (e.g. household decision-making, domestic violence). Another important issue to emerge from the example interventions is that the building of personal self-confidence and self-worth also seems to shift power relations, in that women become less psychologically-subordinated and ready to fulfil their potential. It should be noted, however, that changes in power relations take a long time: It is very difficult to attribute relational shifts to particular interventions without appreciating the wider context of ‘change’ in which they operate. It is likely that interventions aimed at increasing economic opportunities have played a larger role in catalysing social change than can be presented in an overview of specific interventions.