A friend of mine is considered a minority in her research field, for being female. Recently, her advisor wanted to nominate her paper for an award sponsored by a kind of Women's Engineering Society. (Not actually the WES; I don't want to give away field-specific information for her sake.) To qualify for the award, the student must identify as female. She therefore asked her advisor not to nominate her, saying that she does not want to compete for an award where identifying as female is a prerequisite.
Her rationale is essentially that while she does identify as (mostly) female, she does not think it's fair to restrict award eligibility based on attributes outside of someone's control, such as gender. (There are also subissues, with the award eligibity requirements treating gender in a binary fashion, and my friend viewing gender as a spectrum.) She said she would be happy to participate in an award program sponsored by a women's society if the gender prerequisite weren't there.
After much debate, we further boiled down the issue to the following question:
Do awards with gender identity requirements help or hurt the minorities they intend to support?
We are looking for studies and statistics to answer this question; not just anecdotes.
(A side question is whether her individual refusal to participate could hurt the community she is a part of. For example, a snowball effect: if a large number of people refuse to participate in the very programs designed for them, perhaps the programs lose funding and then cease to exist for other members of the minority group who do wish to participate. Or perhaps the reputation of the award just goes down. I would be curious to know if there are documented cases of this happening.)
Note: my friend gave permission to post and update this question.