Forward Thinking

Women Honorees Barred From Science Award Stage

By J.J. Goldberg

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The following article was posted today (December 20) on the Hebrew-language website DoctorsOnly.co.il (the translation is mine). It pretty much speaks for itself. Thanks to Chemi Shalev for flagging it on Facebook.

Exclusion of Women in the Health System: Two female researchers who won an award were not permitted to come up on stage to accept the award and were asked to sit in the balcony

The two prize-winners, including Prof. Chani Ma’ayan of Hadassah, were not allowed to come on stage during an official Health Ministry event and were asked to send a man to accept the award for them. Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman: They agreed

Dr. Chani Ma’ayan, the director of the Israel Center for Family Dysautonomia at Hadassah Hospital-Mount Scopus, and Mrs. Naamah Holtzer, the supervising nurse at the Israel Center for Family Dysautonomia, had a personal experience of exclusion as women during an awards ceremony for outstanding research that took place at Shaare Zedek Hospital on September 25. The prizes were handed out by the deputy minister of health, Yaakov Litzman [party leader of United Torah Judaism – jjg] at a state ceremony funded by the Ministry of Health.

The prize was given in the framework of a project initiated by the Health Ministry for research into the relationship between halacha [rabbinic law] and medicine. The four winners were in attendance at the ceremony, but when the winning paper was announced, “Family Dysautonomia in the Perspective of Halacha,” by Rabbi Yaakov Eisenbach, Prof. Chani Ma’ayan and Mrs. Naamah Holtzer, a man representating the women was asked to come on stage and accept the prize for them, in contrast to the male winners, and despite the fact that the women were present in the hall when the prizes were given out. In addition, the two women, together with other women present in the hall, were asked to sit in a distant balcony, separate from the men.

Dr. Nurit Wagner, chair of the ethics bureau at the Nurses Association, discussed the incident last week in an article published on the website of the Nurses Association. Dr. Wagner emphasized that the female winners had been asked in advance to commit themselves in writing not to come up on stage to accept the award, as rabbis would be sitting on the stage. Moreover, they were seated in a separate balcony, at a distance from the other awardees. The men who won similar awards were seated in the front row and invited on stage to accept their awards. …


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