Celebrating young feminists

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Celebrating young feminists

Clayman Institute awards recognize the new generation of feminists

by Gender News staff on Monday, June 15, 2015 - 2:49pm

On a regular basis, the media questions, “Where is the next generation of feminists?” At the Clayman Institute, the answer is, “All around us.” With the closing of the school year, Clayman Institute honors and celebrates these new feminists.

“There has never been a one-size-fits-all feminism, or a national-level feminist identity,” notes Alison Dahl Crossley, a postdoctoral fellow in sociology at the Clayman Institute whose research focuses on contemporary feminism. “Feminism has always varied by community, race and ethnicity, sexuality and age. And each new generation of feminists strives to make a difference in the world that confronts them.”

Today, young activists are applying feminist ideologies and tactics to a range of social movements including those focusing on immigration reform, environmentalism and human rights. On college campuses across the nation, young feminists are mobilizing against sexual assault and street harassment, advocating for the inclusion and rights of transgender people, and promoting an expanded understanding of feminism that reflects the intersectional nature of social injustices. While some young feminists do still march in the streets to draw attention to their cause, others have made the Internet their street and are forming online communities and using social media to confront sexism. Young feminists still meet in feminist groups or circles to focus on women’s rights and advancement, but they are also bringing feminist ideologies to social justice initiatives that focus on inequalities beyond gender. 

Each year, the Clayman Institute is “home” to a group of these young feminists—postdoctoral research fellows, graduate dissertation fellows, student interns and undergraduate research assistants—who pursue their interests under the guidance of the Institute as they develop a foundation of gender knowledge. “Our goal is to help create change agents,” says Lori Mackenzie, executive director. “We believe education is the foundation for change. So we place a lot of emphasis on training.”

“The Clayman Institute was truly a home away from home for me,” remarks Annelise Heinz, 2015 graduate dissertation fellow, who is taking a post as assistant professor of U.S. women's history at the University of Texas. “It was the ideal balance of community interaction and quiet space to focus. I loved getting to know students across disciplines—it was certainly my most diversified Stanford experience—and supporting each other as we tackled similar challenges.”

Grants from the office of the vice provost for undergraduate education (VPUE) allow the Institute to fund undergraduate research assistants. “We try to give our RAs an opportunity to share not only in the research phase, but also in the application of that research by having them take part in programs and projects,” explains Andrea Davies, associate director. “We want them to be part of our intellectual community and experience what it’s like to do high-level academic research.”

Ann Enthoven, director of programs for the Institute, agrees. “Thanks to the mentorship and opportunities we provide, students learn more than just how to do gender research,” she adds. “They learn how to be effective in a workplace and how to take their research and apply it to real world issues.”

OFCThe diversity of the students and support for their interests, goals and ideals results in student-generated initiatives that encourage feminism to respond to today’s issues. 

Tanvi Jayaraman, 2014 Susan Heck summer intern, has become a strong voice on campus for advocating against sexual assault. “My internship allowed me the autonomy to research and design my own project alongside the incredible scaffolding provided to me by all of my colleagues at Clayman,” she explains. “I discovered my passion for prevention education, learned about the intricacies of great research practices, and made long-lasting bonds with amazing people.” 

Crossley emphasizes the importance of recognizing and encouraging the efforts of young feminists.  “Drawing attention to the accomplishments of young feminists helps show the full picture of their involvement and dispels the myth that young people aren’t interested in feminism,” she says. “It also allows them to be role models for their peers.”

Clayman Institute honors the contributions of these young feminists each year through fellowships, awards and research grants. Please join us in congratulating this year’s awards recipients and graduates as they continue their efforts to foster a more inclusive world, where everyone can thrive.

Clayman Institute Graduate Dissertation Fellows

•Susan Fisk, Ph.D. Sociology, 2015, will take a job this fall as assistant professor of sociology at Kent State.

•Annelise Heinz, Ph.D. History, 2015, moves to Dallas to take a post as assistant professor of U.S. women's history at the University of Texas.

•Mana Nakagawa, Ph.D. Education, 2015, has accepted a position as Women's Diversity Program Manager at Facebook in Silicon Valley.

Marilyn Yalom Research Fund 2015 Recipient 

•Hannah LeBlanc, for "Assessing the Nation's Diet: Home Economists at the USDA and the Problems of Food Science in the Twentieth Century."

Marjorie Lozoff Graduate Prize 2015 Recipient 

•Swethaa Ballakrishnen, for "Organizational innovation, social stratification and the influence of globalization in emerging markets."

Myra Strober Prize 2015 Recipient

•Susan Fisk, for “Gender bias and women-led enterprise.”

Mission Feminista Winners

•Michaela Hinks, Jenna Shapiro and Kierstyn Smith

Congratulations to these and all our students on their outstanding accomplishments!


Feature photo, left to right: Susan Fisk, Michaela Hinks, Jenna Shapiro, Tanvi Jayaraman, Alison Dahl Crossley, Kierstyn Smith, Hannah LeBlanc, Annelise Heinz, Mana NakagawaSwethaa Ballakrishnen