Too Many Constraints
One of my German colleagues has access to $30,000 for Gleichstellung-a German version of an EU-wide initiative to achieve equality between healthy white males and various “disadvantaged” groups, including women. Cleverly, the German government does not want people to substitute these moneys for other funds; as with any subsidy, there is a concern that people will spend it on activities they would have undertaken anyway.
The problem is that the restrictions on using the funds are severe: for example, they can’t be applied to such things as research assistance or travel, as these expenditures are potentially covered by other funds. She did use the money to rent an office in the summer while visiting her parents, who will take care of her kid while she escapes the house to work in peace. But beyond this, she is having a hard time spending it legitimately and the restrictions are such that in most of her faculty the money is not being spent. What is to be done?