Feminist group gives students $5K to 'fight the patriarchy'

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is offering students $5,000 grants to “fight the patriarchy” and “break gender stereotypes” on their campus.

The Campus Action Project (CAP) grants are intended to help college students end the “women in leadership gap” by hosting “discussion groups” or a “poster series” on “why having gender equality at the top benefits everyone.”

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This is one of many programs the AAUW offers college students. The AAUW also recruits students to campaign against sexist microaggressions, and to join their National Student Advisory Council, which seeks to “promote gender equity.”

“Women are much less likely than men to hold leadership positions in almost every field, and women of color are even less likely than white women to hold those leadership positions,” says Paige Robnett, the College Relations Manager at AAUW.

“But sex and race discrimination aren’t the only barriers holding women back,” she adds. “Hostile work environments, negative stereotypes about women in leadership, and unconscious or implicit bias also keep women out of the top spots.”

[RELATED: AAUW tells white feminists to ‘confront your privilege’]

The grant application, which closes October 2, requires that students design a preliminary project and submit a detailed estimated expense list. The $5,000 can be used for almost anything as so long as it helps “close the gender leadership gap,” including speakers fees, food for events, travel, advertising, and any necessary supplies.

Projects from previous years sought to “end gender stereotypes,” improve the “quality of life for women of color on campus,” and promote “work-life balance, self-care, and leadership development” for “underrepresented students.”

The CAP Grant program began in 2008 by sponsoring a leadership program for “women of color” at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Since then, the AAUW has vastly expanded its programming, and now hopes to offer 10-12 grants of $5,000, a total of up to $60,000.

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While the AAUW has historically campaigned on the premise that women’s gender gaps are caused by discrimination, they’ve recently updated their marketing strategy.

As Campus Reform reported last week, the AAUW now attributes the “gender pay gap” primarily to choices women make during their career—such as working less dangerous jobs and taking more time off to watch kids—as opposed to discrimination, which the group acknowledges only accounts for about 7 percent of the pay gap.

Campus Reform reached out to AAUW for comment on their CAP Grant program, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen