This profile was prepared when Sengül Akcar was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2000.
The New Idea
Sengül is increasing women's professional and personal opportunities and broadening the perception of women's role in Turkish society. She does this by enabling women to break from their traditional, limiting roles and to gain financial independence and self-respect by learning nontraditional skills, such as carpentry. She sponsors activities at local and national forums to insure that women have an opportunity to voice their priorities and to create strategic alliances with NGOs, private sector businesses, and government. She focuses on participation and capacity building which provide the political, economic and social framework and resources for women to meet their needs, as well as organize and lead activities independent from men. Other women's organizations in and around Istanbul operate on elite objectives and methodologies, often addressing issues through an academic, rather than practical, approach.