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Voices of Empowerment: Women from the Global South Re/Negotiating Empowerment and the Global Sports Mentoring Program

The topic of women’s empowerment in the Global South not only dominates gender and development programming but continues to be at the forefront of political concerns about the status and position of women across the ‘developing world’. Increasingly, it is being championed as an essential ‘developmental goal’ of northern-led sport for development and peace and sport, gender and development initiatives. Using the US Department of State supported ‘Global Sports Mentoring Program’ (GSMP) as a case study, this paper centralizes the perceptions and experiences of empowerment, agency and voice as expressed by 27 women from 22 countries across the Global South before and during their participation in the 2012 and 2013 programmes. Findings illustrate the multiple ways in which women fought for, negotiated and asserted power within their lives, and the degree to which their pre-GSMP thoughts on female empowerment were broadened, challenged and positively or negatively impacted.