The CSW Policy Brief Prize was created to support and promote applied feminist scholarship by graduate students at UCLA. In 2011, we initiated a publications series rethinking public policy on gender, sexuality, and women’s issues and created the prize to encourage graduate students to submit their work. Each CSW Policy Brief presents research in support of a policy change that would substantially improve the health and well being of women and their families. Previous CSW Policy Briefs can be found on our Policy Briefs page.

We are delighted to invite submissions to CSW’s 6th Annual Student Policy Brief Competition. Selected students will have the opportunity to work with CSW researchers and staff on revising a policy brief for distribution to key community partners and public officials throughout California and for publication on CSW’s eScholarship site on the California Digital Library.  The author(s) of the strongest Policy Brief(s) will be awarded a $500 prize.

2017-2018 Call for Policy Briefs

Addressing Sexual Violence, Reshaping Institutions, Achieving Justice:

Shelter, Intersectionality, and Sexual Harassment Policy

When the institutions tasked with providing shelter instead become sites of sexual violence and harassment, how should feminist policy-makers respond? How can we think of sexual violence as not a stable or monolithic category, but differentiated by citizenship, race, sexuality, gender, and class? What might an intersectional, abolitionist practice of policy making around sexual violence look like?

The #MeToo movement has brought renewed visibility to issues related to sexual assault, harassment, and abuse of power, illuminating how even those women with significant amounts of social, political, and economic power experience gender-based harassment that, until now, has gone unreported for fear of social and professional repercussions. This celebrity advocacy builds on the work of both feminist legal scholars who, in the 1980s and 1990s, drew attention to how sexual harassment contributed to gender inequality in workplaces. At the same time, there has long been a different tradition of analysis from Indigenous and women of color feminists who have noted that sexual violence is constitutive of white supremacist and settler colonial societies. This tradition is the context for black feminist activists, such as Tarana Burke, who coined “me too” as an expression of solidarity and support for women of color whose experiences of sexual abuse may have otherwise been elided.

As the chorus of the #MeToo movement has grown louder, scholars and activists have begun calling for an expanded focus. Sexual harassment and abuse are endemic, but if the origins and effects of sexual violence are so differentiated by historical and material structures of race, gender, sexuality, citizenship, and class, is there utility in subsuming all manifestations of sexual violence under one conceptual category? If not, what alternative frameworks might be more helpful?

As part of CSW’s Food|Water|Shelter initiative, we invite submissions of policy briefs that propose policy interventions to assist vulnerable women and gender-nonconforming individuals by fundamentally reshaping institutions that perpetuate sexual harassment and assault. In contrast to policies that simply react to individual incidents of sexual violence after the fact, usually through carceral or punitive measures that further jeopardize already criminalized populations, we invite solutions that imagine alternative ways of addressing violence and achieving justice.

Thinking about sexual harassment and assault through the concept of “shelter” enables a new focus on vulnerable populations. Institutions that are described as caring for and sheltering individuals—from detention centers and prisons, to foster homes, schools, and universities—in actuality are designed to perpetuate and enable abuse and harassment. Migrants, disabled individuals, economically disadvantaged individuals, and others whom these institutions purportedly shelter are rendered vulnerable through their very position within institutional walls. In addition, industries such as house cleaning, care work, and agriculture are composed of workforces that are disproportionately women of color. Because these workers are tasked with enhancing the home lives of those with more economic power, these industries are structured by a permeability between public and private, which enables the denial of legal protections. Workers in these industries are thus left particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and assault.

We invite UCLA graduate students in any discipline to submit policy briefs that take an intersectional feminist approach to addressing such issues.


$500 stipend


Graduate Students currently enrolled at University of California campuses are eligible to apply.

Submission Requirements

To apply, complete the online application form.

You will be required to submit the following:

  1. A fully-drafted policy brief, approximately 750 words in length (excluding bibliography/sources, graphs, tables, and images) that follows the structure outlined in the CSW Policy Brief Template
  2. Your current academic CV


CSW Policy Brief Template

Special Notes

Students who are qualified under the CA Dream Act of 2011 are eligible to apply. Find detailed information on the Dream Act at

Applicants receiving financial aid are advised to consult with the Financial Aid Office about the potential effect of this award on their financial aid package.

Deadline for Submission

Monday, June 4, 2018


Contact CSW Program Coordinator Alexandra Apolloni

Past Recipients