Power as a measure of accountability and responsibility

Adults maybe similar to children in some ways. Children don’t like to be insulted – they are more likely to do well with positive praise than negative. If we extrapolated this to adults, it appears that adults would not perform well if they are constantly being insulted and criticized.

If men are told on different instances, that they are violent, patriarchal, aggressive, dominant and that they abuse, suppress and dominate women, they are not going to be happy with the picture that is painted of them. It seems like it would be good to have a measure of a person’s power based on a matrix of different factors like age, sex, caste, race, religion, physical stature, personality, EQ, communication skills, level of education, social structure, cultural structure, familiarity with circumstances, social support, finances, assets readily available, assets fixed and immovable, volume, personality type, ability to reward, ability to coerce, legitimate power, expert power, power of dependence/helplessness, information power etc.

In any relationship between two or more people, power equations could be used rather than specific factors like age, sex, gender etc. We also bring in the understanding that those with more power have a larger ability to influence or affect the person with less power and therefore have more accountability and responsibility.
So lets take a man and women and score from 1 – 5

1 = very low power

2 = low power

3 = medium power

4 = high power

5 = very high power

Power domains Man Woman Assumption in this case
Sex 4 2 Men have more power in a given society
Caste 3 3 They are both of the same caste
Religion 2 2 They are both of a minority religion
Physical stature 5 2 The man is much stronger than the woman
Education 2 3 The woman is more educated than the man
Free access to finances 5 1 The man holds the bank account
Immovable assets 4 2 Immovable assets registered on the mans name
Liquid assets 4 2 Liquid assets accessible to the man
Ability to reward 3 3 Both have equal power to reward
Ability to coerce 5 1 He has more power since he controls finances and is physically stronger
Expert power 3 3 He is an expert in practice, she has read a lot
Information power 4 3 He goes out often, she has access to the television
Total 44 27 In this relationship, the man has more power

The male is much more powerful in this instance and THEREFORE has a larger ability to influence or affect the woman who is in a weaker power relationship. The male is therefore more accountable in this situation to take care of the needs of the woman. He is more responsible because he has more power.

This can be similarly reworked in a mother child relationship, or a teacher and student, or a brahmin and a dalit, or a hospital director and an employee. It then just puts the onus of ‘looking out’ for the less powerful person, on the more powerful person. It seems a more positive approach………

A government officer has more ability to influence a lot of people, so the position comes with more responsibility and accountability


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