Critical Difference for Women

Critical Difference for Women (CDW) is a scholarship/grant-offering program administered by The Women's Place for women seeking advanced education and enhanced professional lives at Ohio State. CDW reflects the university's commitment to generate support for the specific needs of women, as these individuals seek to realize their goals and dreams, both personally and professionally.

Photo of Professor Namiko Kunimoto
Research on Women Grant recipient Professor Namiko Kunimoto

The Critical Difference for Women program was created in 1986 when 22 exceptional Ohio State women came together to do research on why many women students were not completing degrees. They found that the disruption in women students' studies was largely due to family responsibilities and financial constraints. The researchers further concluded that financial assistance for tuition, books, childcare and other living expenses would make the critical difference in permitting women students to re-enroll and graduate.

Since then, CDW has blossomed into a remarkable scholarship and grant program for Ohio State women comprised of three funds:

Development Grants:
For women staff and faculty who have been continuously employed at Ohio State for at least one year; sophomore level and above full-time undergraduate students; and full-time graduate/professional students to help facilitate professional development and career mobility. Grants up to $1,000 will be awarded for professional development conferences and workshops, equipment, research activities, certifications, etc. 

Re-entry Scholarships: For women who have interrupted their education due to unforeseen obstacles and who are seeking undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees.

Research on Women Grants: For faculty and PhD candidates/terminal master's degree students of all genders to support research that explores women's lives, gender equity, and gender broadly conceptualized.