Investing in research on women: the Lozoff Award recognizes two graduate students

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Investing in research on women: the Lozoff Award recognizes two graduate students

by Lori Nishiura Mackenzie on Monday, July 5, 2010 - 1:00am
Marjorie Lozoff at Stanford

Marjorie Lozoff at Stanford

In 2002 the Lozoff family took noteworthy action – they invested in research on women. Dr. Milton Lozoff and his daughters and their families established an annual prize in memory of their mother, Marjorie Lozoff.

Why is this action noteworthy? An American Viewpoint opinion poll of registered voters found the overwhelming majority of both men and women do not believe there is a need to direct giving specifically to women; out of 11 categories of recipients only 3 percent said women should benefit more from charitable contributions than they do now. The Lozoff family chose not to follow what the majority of the people believe and instead, invested in what they know works: “furthering women’s development for the benefit of women, men, children, and society.”

The Marjorie Lozoff Award for Research on Women and Gender is given to a graduate student conducting research on issues related to Lozoff’s interests, including but not limited to reproductive rights for women, equal rights for women, and protections for women, aging, and the family, with preference for research in the social sciences and the professions such as medicine and law.

This year, the Clayman Institute and Lozoff family awarded two prizes. The 2010 winners wrote thought-provoking essays on international topics.

Hilary Chart, 2010 Prize Winner

Hilary Chart, 2010 Lozoff Award Winner

Hilary Chart’s essay, Child Care and the Commodification of “Women’s Work” in Botswana: new perspectives on three critiques of capitalism, results from her research in and around Botswana’s capital city of Gaborone. A graduate student in the department of Anthropology, Chart studies women's "micro-enterprise," and in particular the rapid expansion of for-profit daycare centers, noting the impact of commodification on what was formerly unremunerated “women’s work.” Chart demonstrates how markets can be understood as complex mechanisms for the social negotiation of value.

"It is an honor, but also a huge source of encouragement to have this research recognized.  So often scholarship focusing on women is marginalized as only for women,” said Chart of the prize. “The Lozoff family and the Clayman Institute remind us how such research contributes to both social justice and our understanding of the world more generally.  I am grateful for their support, and inspired to continue my work in the spirit of Marjorie's tremendous legacy."

Rikhil Bhavnani

Rikhil Bhavnani, 2010 Lozoff Award Winner

Rikhil Bhavnani, a graduate student in the department of Political Science, asked if electoral quotas work after they are withdrawn. Bhavnani looked at evidence from a natural experiment in India, where randomly chosen seats in local legislatures are set aside for women, one election at a time. His findings? Women have five times the likelihood of winning office when the constituency was reserved for women in the previous election. While the mechanisms require further investigation, Bhavnani believes that reservations work in part by inducting “new” women into politics, and by giving parties the opportunity to learn that women can win elections. Bhavnani will be a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton University next year and will start as an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Fall of 2011. “Do Electoral Quotas Work after They Are Withdrawn? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in India” was published in the American Political Science Review. “I am honored to be a recipient of the Lozoff Prize, and was delighted to meet Lozoff family and learn about Marjorie's remarkable accomplishments at the Awards Luncheon,” said Bhavnani. “By honoring her memory and her legacy, the Prize will inspire a new generation of scholars to study issues of critical importance to women and society.”

The awards are given at an annual lunch with family members, and filled with banter, reunion and honoring of the latest prize winners. One of the Lozoff's daughters asked the recipients about their families. She said her mother would have wanted to know the person behind the scholarship.

In her long life, Lozoff got acquainted with many young students, supporting their education and having as part of the family. Born in 1916, Marjorie Lozoff earned her MA from the School of Social Work at the University of Chicago in 1941. In addition to raising three children, Lozoff was an author, lecturer, social worker and researcher. A move to California brought Lozoff to Stanford’s Institute for the Study of Human Problems and the department of Psychiatry, where she researched student development and student life.

Looking around the luncheon at the Lozoff family, one would see daughters mix with friends such that an outsider would have difficulty distinguishing the two. To Marjorie Lozoff, family was a gift to be shared. Again, noteworthy action taken in honor of a pioneering spirit. Applications for the 2011 Lozoff Award will be available online in Fall Quarter 2010.