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Technology Can Help Us Live Longer January 31, 2013

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Health care and tech–a brilliant team. Once controlled by the healthcare industry, medical technology is moving into the hands of patients. Can we use the tech to make healthier choices, or do we rely on professionals to light a fire under us?

Florence Haseltine knows her stuff. Founding the Society for Women’s Health Research and co-directing the RAISE project, she’s been around the world in medicine and tech both–great article.

Read the original HuffPost article here. 

The world around us is changing minute by minute, and the way and how we communicate have markedly changed. Medicine is just part of the world that requires communication. Medicine is increasingly falling under the influence of new technologies to remind individuals when to take treatments, or when it’s time to monitor one’s vitals. The health care industry has become a technology-rich environment. The human-technology interface is rich for medical exploration, especially to combat some of the challenges that cause Americans — more than their peer nations — to have worse health, as highlighted by a number of recent news stories that discuss a report published by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine. Technology supporting behavior change, resulting in healthier diets or in better management of chronic diseases, is just one area under trial and current exploration. The possibilities of what technology can do are endless.

Much is promised and much is justified on the basis it will improve our health and cost us less. For decades, the use of medical technology has been controlled by the medical profession, but with the expansion of personal mobile devices, it is moving into patients’ hands. In this shifting scenario, it has been said that medicine is now more influenced by smart enabled technologies than by pharmaceuticals. As evidence mounts that innovations such as smart devices can improve the health and care of an individual, more resources must be focused on their development and integration into the health care system.

The assumption is that technology will increasing integrate smart devices into the overall care of the patient. But as Alan Kay said in 1971, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Verizon is determined to invent that future and help technology become more useable. To do so, the Verizon Foundation is reaching out to innovative healthcare providers and organizations to collaboratively build programs enabling them to integrate the use of technology to advance and improve health care. Recently, Verizon has been working with the Society for the Advancement of Women’s Health Research to bring health care to women in underserved areas. Since women frequently are the caregivers for their families while neglecting their own care, it seemed prudent to focus our joint effort on improving their care. If the women are comfortable using the smart devices, the families will follow. Every single person involved in this effort, and every health care provider who tries a new approach, is adding to the knowledge foundation we desperately need to incorporate the new mobile technologies into the medical world and help people manage their own health. The community expects mobile devices to improve health and we demand it.

For more by Florence P. Haseltine, Ph.D., M.D., click here.

For more health living health news, click here.

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Wom-aceda-medic-eosis! Translation: Burnout. December 5, 2012

Posted by The Raise Project in Career, Women in Science.
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First: Ohmigosh, wordpress is snowing! Squee!!

Second: On to real business. Do you, like our subject, get tired of being a woman in academic medicine? Longer hours for less recognition, a dismal rate of awards and prizes.. or is that just the nature of the field?

Read the original here. 

By Pauline Chen, M.D.

I recently learned that a doctor friend had seriously considered quitting her job at her medical school to go into private practice. As long as I have known her, she has talked about her love for teaching new doctors and conducting research while still caring for patients. Nonetheless, I wasn’t surprised to hear the reason she wanted to leave.

“I got tired of being a woman in academic medicine,” she said.

She recounted how, much more than her male colleagues, she would be assigned to work during major holidays, cover for others’ absences and sit on administrative committees that took time away from the research required to advance her career. When she spoke to her chairman about the discrepancies, he listened — but never responded to her repeated requests for a raise or more support.

What surprised me, however, was what finally persuaded her to stay. When she described her situation to some male colleagues, they listened attentively, then began relaying their frustrations with how little support they got from superiors.

“It’s hard being a woman here, but I concluded it’s not that great for anyone else either,” she said.

Sadly, her assessment seems to be correct, according to a recent study on the experiences of women and men working in medical schools.

Academic medical centers — institutions that have as their primary mission the training of new doctors, medical research and comprehensive clinical care – have long played a crucial role in how medicine is practiced in the United States. While historically most doctors were men, medical schools began broadening their admissions policies a little over a generation ago, so that women soon made up anywhere from a third to half of all students and trainees and an increasing percentage of the professors.

But in 2000, a landmark national survey of those working in these institutions revealed that gender bias was widespread. More than half of the women professors surveyed reported being discriminated against or sexually harassed, even as most of their male colleagues believed that such disparities in their institutions did not exist. Other studies found that women faculty members continued to make less money than their male peers, were promoted more slowly and even fared worse in academia’s most revered expression of meritocracy, the peer-review process.

Some researchers attributed the persistent issue to a “pipeline problem,” insufficient numbers of senior level women in medicine, particularly in certain specialties like surgery. Other experts postulated that women were more sensitive to unfair treatment because they tended to be more relationship-oriented than their male colleagues. Still others offered up what amounted to a tautological zinger: by choosing not to leave academic medicine, women simply had more opportunities to experience harassment.

The latest study, conducted as part of the National Initiative on Gender, Culture and Leadership in Medicine and published in The Journal of General Internal Medicine, offers another reason for women’s discontent in academic medical centers: the organizational culture, or the norms of behavior and implicit values of these institutions. And it’s not just women who are feeling demoralized.

The researchers administered a 20-minute questionnaire to over 2,000 faculty members at more than 25 academic medical centers and asked if their work energized them, if they felt ignored or invisible, if they felt pressure to be more aggressive or compromise their values and if their institution promoted altruistic and public service values.

As in earlier studies, more women than men felt marginalized and discriminated against, despite being as ambitious and engaged in work as their male colleagues. Many of the women also described a lack of trust in their institutions or little confidence that the discrimination they were experiencing would ever be addressed.

But both women and men expressed similarly negative feelings about a lack of support from their institutions for their work. And the men were just as likely as the women to feel what experts have termed “moral distress,” a sense of being trapped and forced to compromise on what one believes is right or just.

“We have this dehumanizing organizational culture in academic medicine that doesn’t allow people to realize their potential or be as vital and productive as they can be,” said the lead author, Dr. Linda H. Pololi, a senior scientist at Brandeis University who is also the director of the initiative. “It’s hard to ignore the far-reaching consequences of a work environment that has trouble modeling compassion and care.”

Based on this study and their earlier work, Dr. Pololi and her initiative collaborators have begun offering mentoring programs for faculty members, both female and male, at a handful of medical schools around the country. The program involves reading, writing and regular group exercises and discussions aimed at developing leadership skills and promoting a more open environment. In the Department of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, a preliminary survey has shown that the mentoring program, which has just begun its third year at the school, has already helped to increase the degree of trust among faculty members.

While it remains to be seen whether these changes will endure, it has become clearer that men, as well as women, stand to benefit from any improvement. “It is shocking that the situation for women in academic medicine hasn’t changed that much in the last 10 years,” Dr. Pololi said. “But it’s not always easy to notice the quality of an organization’s culture.”

She added: “That culture is like the air we breathe or the water that fish swim in. It has the potential, for better or worse, to affect everybody in the same way.”

Techie-in-Chief: But I don’t wanna be a token! November 19, 2012

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Nobody wants to be the token. It is nice to see a familiar-looking face at your workplace. Is this common desire for homogeneity stunting women who kinda, sorta, maybe are interested in tech fields?

Read the Original Here. 

In fact, the whole article is a light read but fairly lengthy, so you should prob just head on over to Computerworld.

Need a STEM mentor? Free! September 21, 2012

Posted by The Raise Project in Career, Women in Science.
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Do you have highschool or college-age girls who need a mentor in STEM? Women In Technology Sharing Online (WitsOn) is creating an online community of learners and mentors through the networking platform Piazza. No grades! No pressure! Just a chance to learn or, if you’re a STEM professional, give back to the community a few hours per month (while lounging in your PJs, no less).

Check it out!

https://piazza.com/witson

RAISE in the news again August 9, 2012

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Thanks to Under The Microscope for the feature in their Summer Science Stories series! Supernaturally superb!

http://www.underthemicroscope.com/stories/summer-science-stories-raiseing-women-in-stem 

cupcakes_sarah_chu.jpg

I am documenting my time running the RAISE project this summer. RAISE, whose acronym (Recognizing the Achievements of women In Science, technology, Engineering, math, and medicine) does great work in making sure the accomplishments of women in these fields does not go unnoticed.

The good news: more and more women and girls are entering STEM fields. But wait: why do they receive such a low percentage of awards, honors, and prizes? This is what I am studying–and trying to change!–this summer.

Part of the gap is that women are less likely to tell others about their accomplishments, so they get nominated less frequently for awards. RAISE has a program to encourage women to apply. Even nominate yourself! This is totally acceptable practice for most awards. Another aspect is that gendered language can be secretly embedded into male and female writing styles. Men often use more action-oriented words, while women are less direct. People giving awards can unconsciously react to these writing styles, favoring the bolder approach.

RAISE has fun in the office, too. We love reading up on the cool new things in the STEM world. Do you like oranges? Vijayakumari Narukulla, a scientist in India, just cultivated a new disease- and virus-resistant one, so we’ll have more around the world. How about solar cells? Gcineka Mbambisa of South Africa is working on a more efficient design. Both of these gals won awards for their work.

The bottom line is: always be proud of your work! If you have worked hard, apply for an award, prize, honor, or scholarship. You never know what could come of it! And even if you don’t win, other scientists will be interested to find out about what you’ve done.

And now, off to another awards dinner to cheer on my fellow STEM rockstars!

Caption Information: Recognition can be informal, too! Pic of me (right) and my roommate, acupuncturist Laura Wong, celebrating her great work in the field of immunology. Cupcakes help the immune system, right?

About me: I am 27, getting my M.A. in international affairs at American University in Washington, D.C. I run the RAISE Project under the umbrella of the Society for Women’s Health Research.

What Calypso Rose can tell us about STEM August 7, 2012

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Palms swaying, steel drums and broad smiles. Calypso singing used to be a man’s field. Hear this now-72-year-old gal’s view on breaking that glass conch shell.

Read the Original here.

Calypso Rose: What the “Lioness of the Jungle” can tell us about STEM

A few weeks back I saw the documentary, “Calypso Rose: Lioness of the Jungle,” about the first professional woman Calypso singer from Trinidad. Calypso Rose was the first woman to win the Calypso King contest and the Trinidad Road March competition in the 1970s. Still performing at 72 years old, she’s now written more than 800 songs. Some of her calypsos are about women’s issues such as domestic violence, and she’s used her platform of music to bring awareness around the world.

In her documentary, she talks about how much resistance she faced as the first woman calypso singer and many of the stories she told sounded so familiar – they are the stories of all women breaking into a man’s world. First, how fellow musicians tried to ban her from competing in the formerly all-male Calypso King contest, but she persisted and eventually even won the competition. Later she talked about how she was so careful not to have relations with any of the other musicians she was working with, and living with, in the Calypso tents, yet there were still rumors that she was sleeping with all the male musicians and then other rumors that she was sleeping with the female musicians. Through it all, she kept her head high, and focused on her music.

During the film, a professional female calypso singer from St. Lucia meets Calypso Rose for the first time and is overcome with emotion. She tells Calypso Rose that she has been her role model all of her life and that she helped her to see it was possible for her to pursue her own career in this male-dominated genre of music. While today, we don’t have that many more women firsts remaining in the US, the dynamic is still the same for women and girls who might be the firsts in their families, their communities, their schools, and among their friends. They still need the hope and inspiration of the female role models who have gone before them so that they know they too can do it. Not everyone can be a pioneer like Calypso Rose, pioneers by their nature are few in numbers, but all girls can feel it’s possible to be a Calypso singer, a drummer like Sheila E, an astronaut like Sally Ride, or a surgeon general like Dr. Joycelyn Elders. Or equally important, a computer network technician perhaps like her Aunt, a geographic information systems analyst like her sister, or an auto technician like her neighbor Sue. Female role models help women and girls see their own unlimited potential.

Is there a female role model who inspired you? Please share in the comments the person in your life who helped you see your own potential.

Warmly,

Donna

PS I love Calypso Rose’s music, and following the documentary I went home and downloaded her Best of Calypso Rose album and it’s my new work out music playlist! You can’t but help move when you are listening to it. Go to her website to hear her music and see clips from her documentary. I’d love to share the joy of Calypso Rose’s music with all of you!

Why Female Entrepreneurs Don’t Receive The Recognition Men Do July 5, 2012

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Here at RAISE, we are concerned with STEM women getting the recognition they deserve. But the same reasons that figures remain low cut across fields. Theory: women are less inclined to seek the professional limelight.

Read the Original Here. 

By Mario Schulzke (Founder & CEO, IdeaMensch)

Through interviews and events, IdeaMensch has featured over 800 entrepreneurs. That being said, we don’t just interview traditional entrepreneurs but anyone who has an idea and brings it to life: bloggers, nonprofit CEOs, social entrepreneurs, authors, artists and even a gentleman who runs a rickshaw business in Mumbai.

If I had to make a guess, we have probably featured 650 men and 200 women. And people ask me all the time why we don’t interview more women?

There actually is a reason. One reason I’ve never really shared before.

The reason we haven’t interviewed more female entrepreneurs is because they’re too focused bringing their ideas to life. And unlike their male counterparts (not all, but a fair share of us), women entrepreneurs really don’t care so much about public recognition. Women don’t brag like we do.

For every ten male entrepreneurs we ask to be featured, eight will say yes.

For every ten female entrepreneurs we to be, five will say yes. The other five will be very complimentary and tell me that they’re simply too busy right now focusing on a, b or c.

They usually eventually get to it, but normally my experience has very much been that female entrepreneurs are less inclined to shine the light on themselves.

Among Doctors, Too, Women Are Paid Less July 3, 2012

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Chosen because of their similarity to one another in professional interests, aptitude and ambition, the doctors in the study each had received a highly prestigious research grant early in their careers and worked in academic medical centers.

The study controlled for specialty, publications, academic rank, hours worked and leadership positions…

Result: a man *still* made an average of $12,000 more annually than a woman.

Read the original here.

Dr. Pauline Chen

Brilliant and hard-working, my younger colleague had just returned from delivering one of the main talks at a national medical meeting. All of us viewed the invitation to speak as an acknowledgment of her great potential, so when I asked her about the conference, I expected her to bubble over about the accolades she’d heard and the plum job offers she’d received from competing medical centers.

But she hardly smiled as she recounted her experiences.

“During the question-and-answer session I kept falling back on phrases like ‘maybe,’ ‘perhaps’ and ‘I guess so,’ ” she said. Though she had the experience and data to rebut even the most aggressive or erroneous challenges from doctors in the audience, her tentative manner seemed to leave her vulnerable to doubts and even more questioning.

What’s more, she added, she had noticed that many of the other female speakers responded to their audiences as she had, with wavering and hesitant replies, while most of the men answered “with such confidence and bravado that we women looked pretty amateur in comparison.”

The experience had shaken my colleague’s quiet confidence. “I always thought the strength of my work was all that mattered in medicine,” she said. “Now I can’t help but wonder if other factors are involved.”

This was not the first time I had heard a colleague speculate on how her sex might affect the way others treated her professionally, but we all thought medicine was one of the few careers in which men and women working the same hours and producing comparable results in similar specialties would be paid and promoted equally. While some studies found income disparities between male and female doctors, researchers chalked up their findings to the fact that fewer women worked in higher-paying specialties and more men worked longer hours.

But a study published recently in The Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that medicine may not be so meritocratic after all.

Researchers analyzed the professional trajectories of almost 2,000 midcareer physician-researchers. Chosen because of their similarity to one another in professional interests, aptitude and ambition, the doctors in the study each had received a highly prestigious research grant early in their careers and worked not in private practice but in academic medical centers. The researchers examined a wide range of career factors, including the number of hours worked, professional achievements, leadership positions, marital status, parental status and salary.

As in some earlier studies, the researchers found a difference in income, with a male doctor’s annual salary averaging just over $200,000 and a female’s averaging about $168,000. And like previous researchers, they found that the female doctors tended to be in lower-paying specialties, have fewer publications, work fewer hours and hold fewer administrative leadership positions.

But when these researchers ran the numbers again, this time adjusting for differences in specialty, publications, academic rank, hours worked and leadership positions, they found that the expected average salary for women still fell behind that of their male colleagues. The male doctors made over $12,000 per year more than the women. Calculated over the course of a 30-year career, the income gap based on sex alone amounted to over $350,000.

“We really didn’t expect to find such a substantial unexplained difference,” said Dr. Reshma Jagsi, lead author and an associate professor of radiation oncology at the University of Michigan. “In Michigan, that amount buys you a house, your kids’ education or a nice nest egg for retirement.”

There may be several reasons for this income difference. A previous study by a group of psychologists, for example, showed that when presented with identical résumés, one from a man and one from a woman, employers of both sexes were more likely to hire the man. A similar unconscious bias is likely to exist among doctors, influencing how much female physicians are paid and promoted. “It’s not like the medical centers or the department heads are evil,” Dr. Jagsi said. “The problem is that sometimes in medicine we think we are immune to these pervasive biases.”

Male and female doctors may also interact differently with their superiors when talking about payment and promotions. Women in other fields have been shown to negotiate less aggressively than their male peers. In medicine, that would mean women are less inclined to ask for more money and less likely to leverage offers from competing institutions or practices.

While the current study looks at only one small and homogeneous subset of physicians, the findings are probably applicable to many more doctors. “The men and women we studied were the go-getters,” Dr. Jagsi said. “You have to worry that if you see such disparities among this group, you will see at least the same, if not more, differences among other groups of physicians.”

Dr. Jagsi believes that greater transparency would decrease, and even eliminate, the income differences. Currently, it is difficult for most doctors to know if they are being paid fairly “since most institutions don’t have clear policies on how to determine salaries,” she noted. But standardizing the process of compensation and career advancement would make everyone involved more accountable for such decisions and “allow men and women to be paid as much as the work they are doing is worth,” she said.

“Society makes a huge investment in every medical trainee,” Dr. Jagsi said. “If we make that kind of investment, we need to ensure that compensation and advancement are fair.”

She added, “It comes down to a matter of basic fairness.”

What happens when that Highschool senior you look up to is a Techno-geek June 11, 2012

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It used to be that, quantitatively, the top reasons women cited for staying away from technology fields were:

*it’s not interesting;

*they think they wouldn’t be good at it;

*they think they will be working with a number of people that they just wouldn’t feel comfortable or happy working alongside.

But now that tech is so much more integrated into our daily lives, being technologically illiterate no longer flies. The article finds that the new reasons include:

*not being aware of the economic benefits and impact tech careers can have;

*female students not taking computer science classes, which might spark their interest;

*not having “mentors” who are only a few years older that are into tech. (Remember that Senior in highschool, when you were a freshman, and they were the epitome of cool and the pinnacle of human evolution, with their school savvy and CAR KEYS? Article suggests the more girls get into computers and technology, the more young devotees will follow, and the cycle will continue.)

Read the original here. 

Here’s the Real Reason There Are Not More Women in Technology

Thomas Hawk

Ask someone to tell you the reasons that there are not more women in technology positions and chances are they will point to one of the numerous articles written lately. They usually start with “top 10 reasons why women…” or “break the glass ceiling by…”.  But instead of doing the hard research, they produce the literary equivalent of ‘all flash and no substance’.

To understand the reasons and circumstances of the issue, we must go beyond the pretexts to an examination of the occupational conditions for women throughout their life. And I chose to discuss it with 10 successful women that have all made it to the top of their professions in technical related fields.

Such a view of women’s lives are of course limited by the size of the study, but these successful women each put forth sound, actionable advice for women of all ages. Critical advice during a time where technology has begun and increasingly will permeate every facet of every profession on earth. A career without a technology background is a fatal one.

(more…)

Prize or Prejudice? June 7, 2012

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OK, so this is about lit, not STEM. But the interesting question is…. are women-only awards a help or hindrance??

Thanks, A.S. Byatt, for today’s ponderance. I wish I possessed the answer. ha ha! .. groan.

Read the original here. 

By CYNTHIA OZICK

BRITAIN’S prestigious Orange Prize, awarded exclusively for fiction by women writing in English without regard to nationality, has just now completed its 17th year. And while the prize is lauded for its international reach and has never been disparaged for choosing to bar translated work, once again the annual clamor erupts: how can such a circumscribed honor be deemed legitimate? Why only women?

A. S. Byatt, the eminent British novelist who in 1990 won the Booker Prize, and who has determinedly kept her books out of the Orange race, offers a blunt answer: “The Orange Prize is a sexist prize. You couldn’t found a prize for male writers. The Orange Prize assumes there is a feminine subject matter — which I don’t believe in.” Responding to the recent report that Orange, a telecommunications company, will no longer sponsor the award, this principled writer demurs yet again. “I shan’t mourn it. … Women should be allowed to have everything men have, but they shouldn’t be allowed to have their own little sheep pens.”

On one hand, “sheep pen,” “ghetto,” “biologically based self-confinement.” And on the other, the Woolfian ideal of “a room of one’s own,” ultimately culminating in the Orange Prize. Which view is truer, which owns the greater persuasive force?

In the hope of settling this dispute, I ask you to consider the history of literary women. It turns out, oddly, to be also a prolific history of “men,” among whom the most celebrated are Currer, Acton and Ellis Bell (Charlotte, Anne and Emily Brontë), George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), George Sand (Amandine Aurore Lucie Dupin), Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen), Vernon Lee (Violet Paget).

The motive behind these necessary masquerades is hardly an urge to hide. Instead, it is a cry for recognition and a means of evading belittlement, or worse yet, the curse of not being noticed at all. The most pointed symptom and symbol of this pervasive fear is the poignant exchange between the 20-year-old Charlotte Brontë and Robert Southey, England’s poet laureate. Humbly and diffidently, she had sent him a sampling of her poems, trusting that he might acknowledge the worth of what she knew to be her “single, absorbing, exquisite gratification.”

His notorious reply, while conceding her “faculty of verse,” is nearly all that remains of his once powerful fame. “Literature,” he chided, “cannot be the business of a woman’s life, and it ought not to be. The more she is engaged in her proper duties, the less leisure she will have for it, even as an accomplishment and a recreation.” If such condescending sentiments leave a contemporary writer feeling sick at heart, Brontë thought the letter “kind and admirable; a little stringent, but it did me good.”

The Orange Prize, then, was not born into an innocent republic of letters. Nor need we thumb through past centuries to discover the laureate’s enduring principle. After gaining a modicum of notice following an eclipse lasting years, I was once praised, as a kind of apology, by a prominent editor with these surprising words: “I used to think of you as a lady writer” — an inborn condition understood to be frivolous and slight, and from which recovery is almost always anomalous.

So much for the defense of a reparative award dedicated solely to writers who are women. Advocacy of this sort, vigorously grounded as it is in a darker chamber of the literary continuum, is not the Orange’s only defense. We are reminded that there are, abundantly, prizes for regional writers, for black writers, for Christian writers, for Jewish writers, for prison writers, for teenage writers, for science writers, and on and on. Why must a prize for women’s writing be the single object of contention?

Yet this argument will not hold water. Each such category signals a particular affinity, or call it, more precisely, a culture (and in the case of Jews and Christians, a deeper and broader civilization), and women are integral to all of them. To argue for femaleness-as-culture is to condemn imaginative and intellectual freedom and to revert to the despised old anatomy-is-destiny. And to the sheep pen and the ghetto and the circumscribed body of feeling and thought.

In an essay titled “Literature and the Politics of Sex,” I once ventured a definition of feminism. “In art,” I wrote, “feminism is that idea which opposes segregation; which means to abolish mythological divisions; which declares that the imagination cannot be ‘set’ free, because it is already free. I am, as a writer, whatever I wish to become. I can think myself into a male, or a female, or a stone, or a raindrop, or a block of wood, or the leg of a mosquito. Classical feminism,” I concluded, “was conceived of as the end of false barriers and boundaries; as the end of segregationist fictions and restraints.”

And then, lo! To confound this declaration, blind luck landed me on the Orange shortlist. Did I hasten to demand omission from so discriminatory a roster? No. I was, in fact, exhilarated and privileged; I rejoiced in this out-of-the-blue acknowledgment by faraway judges in another country. Where now were my anti-separatist convictions? Was I sunk, after all, in hypocrisy, opportunism, expediency, cynicism? Perhaps all; decidedly all. Yet I failed to feel defined by any of these evils; I felt no bad faith. It came to me then, since a writer is a writer is a writer (“male and female created He them”), it may also be true, for the sake of literature itself, that a prize is a prize is a prize. For readers and writers, in sum, the more prizes the better, however they are structured, and philosophy be damned.

Cynthia Ozick is the author, most recently, of the novel “Foreign Bodies,” shortlisted for the 2012 Orange Prize.