Beyond bargaining: forms and mechanisms of interpersonal power

Arlette Covarrubias


To empower women, it is necessary to better understand the power dynamics they are involved in. The objective of this paper is to analyse intrapersonal power dynamics of women with their husbands in San Felipe del Progreso, a poor and marginalised indigenous community in Mexico State, Mexico. A framework is used that distinguishes between the mechanisms that are used to enforce power and their visibility, using the forms of power proposed by (Gaventa 2011). To achieve the objective, in-depth interviews and focus groups were applied to women of four towns in the area. Power relations related to four fundamental aspects of women´s lives were assessed; women’s mobility, women’s contraceptive use, women’s sexual relations with their husbands, and household decisions on income and expenditures. Results indicate that men and women use different forms and mechanisms of power due to gendered social norms and differences in the control and access to resources.


women`s power, empowerment, relational power

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Géneros - Multidisciplinary Journal of Gender Studies | ISSN: 2014-3613

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