Home Blog Gender and Power

Gender and Power

Archana Nagawanshi

Department of Social Work

Kalinga University Raipur


Understanding both of these notions offers the chance to successfully protect women’s human rights because gender and power are inextricably linked. The most enduring disparities between men and women are influenced by power dynamics at all societal levels. The fight against all these gender disparities must always be political since they are strongly rooted in politics. Such power dynamics in families affect decision-making and determine how development proceeds in conjunction with those in the “public” domain.

Also, gender influences how larger institutions (economic, political, and social) distribute power and perpetuate gender power relations. New chances for gender equality, world peace, and prosperity are presented by the emergence of feminised sources of power.

Power cannot be understood in a single way. Its many meanings are.

  • Power is more pervasive and embedded in a web of relationships, behaviour, and societal conventions that touch everyone, but which no single actor holds. • Power is possessed by actors, some of whom are powerful while others are relatively powerless.
  • Power is a “zero-sum” notion, meaning that for one group of actors to acquire power, another group of actors must lose some power. Since the powerful rarely relinquish their authority lightly, conflict and “power struggles” are frequently involved in this.
  • Possessing power is a “bad” quality because it allows one to exert control over others. Power is the ability and agency to use for doing constructive action.

Power and its Character

Power is a component of all human contact, but it only manifests in one of two basic processes: control or collaboration.

The nature of power has been studied and discussed by philosophers, politicians, and social scientists for ages. The measure of a man is what he does with power, Pittacus (c. 640-568 B.C.E.) opined, “The measure of a man is what he does with power” and Lord Action perhaps more famously asserted, “ Power tend to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely” (1887). Power can, in fact, be viewed in a negative light, and the definition of the word itself is ambiguous.

Many academics follow Max Weber’s definition of power, which states that “power is the ability to exercise one’s will over others” (Weber 1922). Power changes more than just interpersonal connections.

Power of Others

According to Michel Foucault, “the structures or the techniques of control over others” are a form of power (1983). He discussed how knowledge and power interact as a means of social control through social institutions. In this definition, two key aspects of power are identified: its relationships with others and how it is actually used.

Power Has Manifestations

“Power is a necessary component of human survival and manifests itself in every area of social life, from interpersonal interactions to business dealings to ideological and political conflicts” (Frank Bealey, 1999). It is connected to power, wealth, and politics. Being ability to utilise either overt force or subtle pressure to affect another person’s behaviour is what it means to have power. Power is a “bringing to action or external determination” that affects people as separate entities (Saar 2010,14).


Contrarily, the constative theory of power emphasises the fundamentally relational and transindividual ways in which people and the social worlds they live in are themselves shaped by power relations.

Recent social discussions regarding power frequently question of power’s ability to permit social acts, as well as how it might hinder or prevent them, has dominated modern sociological discussions of power. It is also regarded as beneficial and effective for pursuing humanistic goals that will inspire, motivate, and empower other people.

Kalinga Plus is an initiative by Kalinga University, Raipur. The main objective of this to disseminate knowledge and guide students & working professionals.
This platform will guide pre – post university level students.
Pre University Level – IX –XII grade students when they decide streams and choose their career
Post University level – when A student joins corporate & needs to handle the workplace challenges effectively.
We are hopeful that you will find lot of knowledgeable & interesting information here.
Happy surfing!!

  • Free Counseling!