CSW Policy Brief Prize

CSW will not publish a Policy Brief Series for AY 2020-2021. Stay tuned for next year’s competition announcement!

The CSW Policy Brief Prize supports and promotes applied feminist scholarship by graduate students at the UCs. Each CSW Policy Brief presents research in support of a policy change that would substantially improve the health and wellbeing of women and their families. Previous CSW Policy Briefs can be found on our Policy Briefs webpage.

2020-2021 Policy Brief Competition

Theme: Gender, Social Justice, and Essential Work

The events of 2020—the global pandemic, widely broadcast incidents of lethal anti-Black state violence in the US, and large-scale protests around the world—have affected all of us in various ways, but not equally. Essential workers (many of whom are women and people of color) have been more frequently and more severely impacted by these events. Many work in environments that increase their potential exposure to the virus (e.g., hospitals and grocery stores), and the risk of spreading the coronavirus to vulnerable family members. Meanwhile, their essential work is often disregarded and undervalued. Additionally, job-market losses are affecting women disproportionately. The pandemic lays bare inequalities that Black feminists and Indigenous feminists have discussed for decades. These are not new or exceptional issues, although the heightened awareness surrounding the pandemic may cast them in a new light.

CSW invites submissions of policy briefs that highlight the gendered and racialized impacts of the pandemic on essential workers in the United States, as well as the gendered and racialized nature of work labeled essential in this context. Submissions may address the theme from a broad national or global perspective, or from a local and specific point of view.

Some examples of questions that submissions may consider include: What are the issues facing populations that do essential work? How and why have the events of 2020 brought these into wider relief? How have essential workers been managing and what kinds of support do they need? How do Black or Indigenous feminist perspectives help us understand the issues essential workers face? What other perspectives may be useful in doing so? Who are the essential workers on the UC campuses and how have they been affected by the pandemic? Many essential workers are also undergraduate students. How have undergraduates been impacted by the drastic changes in university operations during this time?

Successful applications will identify specific issues or problems, contextualize them, and provide action steps for addressing them.



EXTENDED: Sunday, May 16, 2021 at 11:59 pm (PST)


Currently enrolled graduate students at all University of California campuses are eligible to apply.

Submission Requirements

To apply, submit the following documents using the online application form:

  • A 750-word Policy Brief that responds to the prompt above. Briefs should follow the CSW Policy Brief Template.
  • A copy of your current CV

Special Notes

  • Students who are qualified under the CA Dream Act of 2011 are eligible to apply. Detailed information on the CA Dream Act of 2011 is on www.financialaid.ucla.edu.
  • Applicants who are receiving financial aid should consult with the Financial Aid Office. If you are selected as a recipient of this award, your financial aid package may be subject to revision.

Deadline for Submission

CSW must receive all application materials no later than 11:59 PM (PST) on Sunday, May 16, 2021.


Contact the CSW Program and Research Developer

Past Recipients