ACT has thorough expertise and effective instruments to closely investigate women’s empowerment and equality across a variety of sectors including health, education, agriculture, politics, economic development, and social life. ACT puts together valid evidence and develops vital recommendations for local and central governments, decision-makers and the donor community to consider, thereby fostering women’s ability to make positive changes for themselves, their communities and countries in general. ACT continuously looks at possible barriers and/or helps to provide a more enabling environment for women’s economic empowerment, and studies existing social norms and structural barriers that potentially constrain women from contributing equally to development processes.
ACT studies go beyond isolated poverty issues and instead try to document and analyze inequality concerns with respect to living standards, status, rights, and opportunities across the whole population. They cover inequality in terms of both opportunities and outcomes between different social, ethnic and minority groups from different perspectives and in a variety of settings and fields of operation. Our focus is on investigating and understanding the factors behind this inequality and putting forward practical solutions thereto. Specifically, we consider what opportunities exist, what works well in different settings, how existing social and cultural norms and economic factors support and/or hinder the concept of inequality and, finally, what the possible good scenarios could be. Furthermore, our inequality studies cover minority inclusion and empowerment issues as well.
Vulnerability studies implemented by ACT focus on various characteristics of people and groups that potentially expose them to harm, thus limiting their ability to handle and recover from certain difficulties. We analyze the risks and assets of disadvantaged groups to ensure the generation of sound and deep insights for interested groups and organizations working with “people in need” to solve their problems and/or mitigate the risks they face. Although there are various definitions of vulnerability itself, ACT’s studies try to map people living “at risk” in different settings.
Gender studies / analysis is a crosscutting issue and an important pillar in ACT’s various research projects. We believe that “gender is never isolated from other factors that determine someone’s position in the world, such as sexuality, race, class, ability, religion, region of origin, citizenship status, life experiences, and access to resources” (Zaborskis M., Gender Studies: Foundations and Key Concepts; JSTOR Daily, online publication; 2018). ACT implements in-depth gender studies with the help of highly-qualified local experts and international consultants, works with various organizations in given fields to learn more about local gendered practices, norms, and discourses, thereby gathering sufficient background and evidence for interested groups, local non-governmental organizations, and policymakers to make appropriate adjustments in prevailing practices and legislation accordingly.