Icon #20: Empowerment



Empowerment is a tricky word. During my graduate studies, we joked about how empowerment (while it can be quite powerful and important as a concept) gets overused and abused across various contexts, particularly in health promotion and talk around the health system. We often hear about the need to “empower people” to become healthier and happier, for instance. I recall my first year class talking about the need to design an “empowerment bullsh*t scale” to assess how meaningfully this word gets used…Sadly, I think we could agree that more often than not, the scale would probably lean toward the “bullsh*t” end.

In itself, empowerment is a complex concept…and something I had a difficult time iconizing. What I’ve created above could either be a clever play on the “power/on” symbol (with a person in the middle) or just plain confusing. You tell me!

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