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News / May 3, 2024

Partner Profile: Tania Ivanova, President, Reactor – Research in Action


Tania Ivanova is the President of Reactor – Research in Action (Reactor), an independent Skopje-based think tank focusing on gender equality, youth, and urban development and is a local partner of CEPPS core partner, the National Democratic Institute (NDI). Reactor won NDI’s annual Madeline K. Albright grant for playing a crucial role in supporting women’s political participation in N. Macedonia. Before joining Reactor in 2020, Tania was part of Ipsos, a globally recognized research company, where she specialized in qualitative research techniques and leading regional and international quantitative research projects focused on public affairs, good-governance, education, youth, and women.

CEPPS recently spoke to Tania about what the 2024 International Women’s Day theme of “investing for gender equality” means to her.


What does investing in gender equality mean to you?

“Investing for gender equality means allocating resources in education, healthcare, economic opportunities, social programs, decision-making and policies, as well as other grassroots activities and initiatives, that address gender disparities and barriers faced by women and marginalized groups and allow for systemic changes. This is crucial to overcoming gender inequalities from the local level to the highest decision-making levels across all sectors and areas.”


What do you see as some of the major challenges to advancing gender equality in North Macedonia? How do you think these challenges can be best overcome?

“In North Macedonia, some of the main challenges to investing in gender equality may include cultural attitudes, traditional gender norms and stereotypes, lack of gender-sensitive education curricula, limited access to economic opportunities for women, lack of gender-disaggregated data, lack of awareness and limited resources dedicated to gender-focused initiatives, as well as inadequate or inconsistent institutional responses for promoting gender equality.

“To address these challenges, Reactor implements actions and initiatives that contribute towards more visible and publicly accessible gender-disaggregated data and conducts research to better understand gender disparities, inform political processes and strategies, and advocate for  evidence-based policy reforms. To make a stronger impact and drive change, Reactor collaborates with national and local government institutions and CSOs while leveraging support from international organizations and donors with funds specifically earmarked for gender equality or youth projects.”


What role is gender-responsive budgeting playing in advancing gender equality in your country?

“Reactor addresses a wide range of topics related to gender mainstreaming and integrating gender perspectives across different sectors and policies. We are working to strengthen gender equality through government budgeting processes in North Macedonia by advocating for better integration of gender perspectives into budget planning, allocation, and monitoring for specific legislation, policies, and decision-making processes, including examining the fiscal implications of national strategies aimed at tackling gender inequality. This may also involve conducting gender analyses in different sectors, analyzing strategic documents, policies, and programs, engaging with policymakers to prioritize gender equality, supporting peer organizations in their efforts to improve gender responsiveness in budget decisions, or building the capacity of government officials to apply gender-responsive budgeting tools and methodologies. Gender-responsive budgeting is a very important tool that aims to ensure that government budgets address the different needs and priorities of women, men, and gender- diverse individuals to promote gender equality. It also incorporates a gender lens into budgetary processes and assists policymakers identifying and addressing gender disparities in resource allocation, service delivery, and policy outcomes. While gender-responsive budgeting is one of the many approaches that can further gender equality, it is important that it is used in a meaningful way, rather than as a “tick the box” exercise… For example, in North Macedonia, gender-responsive budgeting has the ability to lead to improvements in women’s access to healthcare, education, employment, and social protection, as well as enhanced participation and representation of women in decision-making processes. [However,] gender-responsive budget statements that have existed for some time have not yet made a substantial change and they often remain as yet another “piece of paper” that fail to encourage accountability and responsibility. In this case…without enough funds to drive real change or political will to implement the commitments… gender-related issues [risk remaining] at the bottom of the national agenda.

“We need to strengthen our efforts to ensure proper allocation of public funds based on gender-specific needs and promote gender mainstreaming in public policies and programs. At the same time, we must consider gender-responsive budgeting as part of broader policies and initiatives to contribute to reducing gender disparities and promoting social and economic inclusion, while making way for long-term changes and societal transformation that could bring about more just, equitable, and participatory democracies.”

For more information on Tania and Reactor, please visit: and follow Reactor @reactormkd on X.

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