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The empowerment of women is a broadly endorsed strategy for solving a host of difficult problems, from child poverty to gender violence to international development. The seventeen international scholars in this multi-disciplinary volume offer thoughtful critiques of the notion of empowerment based on their studies in twenty countries in all regions of the world. The comparative introduction places concepts of empowerment in the context of models of the market and of community, showing how contradictions in these models as they are enacted on the ground provide both spaces and constraints for women. The chapters consider opportunities for women in the context of globalization, resurgent nationalism and politicized religion, cultures of masculinity, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa. They show how initiatives at national or global levels are transformed by local cultures and power structures, and demonstrate the fruitfulness of tensions between universal values of human rights and contextualized understandings. This landmark, multi-disciplinary collection of original studies by distinguished international feminist scholars will be an essential addition to the fields of Political Science, Women's Studies, Economics, Sociology, International Development, andEnvironmental Studies.