An empowered person is one who has control of the decisions which impact his/her life. The same applies to a group. Empowering marginalized people is merely working towards helping them gain the kind of control over their lives that the rest of us enjoy. To get it, they have to do it for themselves - albeit with external help for a while.
We will lionize him, but will we ever listen to what he's saying? - Amartya Sen
Amartya Sen points out that when he took up issues of women's welfare in India he was accused of voicing ‘foreign concerns’. He was told, ‘Indian women don't think like that about equality’. But he argued that, 'if they don't think like that, they should be given a real opportunity to think like that.'