Ana Maria Munoz
Living in: Coruna, Spain
Researcher and Advocacy Officer, Oxfam Intermon, Spain
Ana is a social researcher and advocacy practicioner with a degree in Law and development studies, specialised in participation, power, social and political change. She has 9 years’ experience working on advocacy and social mobilisation campaigns, exploring how ordinary people can influence and ‘do’ politics.
Her MA in participation, power and social change at the Institute of Development Studies (University of Sussex), helped Ana to better explore how social and political change happens. From a critical thinking and action learning approach, this MA deepened her previous experience as a practitioner and activist, linking it to her theoretical knowledge and academic skills.
Her action research project was awarded with the prize for the best dissertation of her year group. It focused on the processes of citizenship and empowerment that people affected by the mortgage crisis in Barcelona, Spain might have lived or not inside a social movement: the Spanish Platform of Mortgage-Affected People (PAH). It looked at the impact that the mortgage crisis and PAH might have had on people’s senses and practices of citizenship, which might contribute or not to building more critical active citizenship and equal and democratic societies.
Ana’s professional experience has mainly been developed with NGOs at national level; Oxfam, Amnesty International, Federations of NGOs - working on advocacy campaigns on human rights, social policies and Constitutional changes. Ana also gained some experience in the field of international consultancy, participating in monitoring and evaluation projects in advocacy.
Since 2016, she has worked for Oxfam, Spain doing research and advocacy on social policies, focused on income inequality and, particularly, wage inequality. Ana has co-authored the report ‘Wages fall, inequality grows’, which analyses the effects of wage inequality and low pay at a global level, and looks in detail at the Spanish situation before and after the economic crisis of 2008-2014. Furthermore, it considers concrete policy recommendations to reduce the pay gap.
Ana also works in Polétika -'politics + ethics'-, an alliance formed by 10 CSO networks, representing more than 500 organisations and social movements. This network analyses and monitors public political commitments on social policies against inequality and poverty, to hold politicians accountable.
My interest in inequalities come from realising how different opportunities and access people have to basic needs and the exercise of their rights, depending on the nationality, race or ethnicity, gender and/or the economic power one has. My interest is mainly in 'other dimensions' of inequality - the social and political dimensions - beyond income and wealth, and the relationships among them. This project and the Atlantic Fellows programme will allow us to know better what social and political inequalities look like, deepening into how income and wealth distribution may affect the dynamics of politics and power.
As it has recently been acknowledged by the World Bank, reducing economic inequalities is crucial for economic growth to make a more effective contribution to poverty reduction. This proposal seeks to bridge academic, activist and practitioner perspectives to design and implement relevant, solid and effective programmes for the reduction of inequalities at national and local levels.
Understanding inequalities properly in any given context - including their links to poverty dynamics, their main drivers, and the consequences for citizens - is a necessary condition for effective programming and policy-making. Yet, inequality is a complex multidimensional concept and phenomenon, and the lack of robust, but pragmatic frameworks and tools make it challenging for activists and practitioners to grasp inequalities with the width and depth required.
The main aim of this project is to develop a robust and pragmatic Inequality Framework & Toolkit, that will help activists and practitioners improve their understanding of inequalities. The Framework & Toolkit will build on the latest academic research and integrates different perspectives and knowledges - theoretical and experiential - to produce a theoretically grounded yet practical product. We will pilot the inequality framework in Guatemala, so that we can identify what works and what does not, in a reflective action learning process.
My hope is that this project will help to understand the different dimensions of inequality and the relationships among them. Its practicality will shed some light on what policies might be the most effective against inequalities and under what conditions. Besides, my wish is that the diversity of approaches and backgrounds brought together in this team will contribute to bridge the gap between Academia and NGOs, having a broader vision of our complex reality.