Women & the history of medicine (No, they’re not mutually exclusive)
However, as I have aged and learned to critically analyse the world around me, the importance of understanding the world's history - particularly women's history - has become increasingly obvious to me. Many women (and some men) sacrificed much for the human rights of women to be recognised and supported (and we still have a long way to go).
My PhD research on women's experiences of endometriosis includes a historical component. I am interested in analysing how the discipline of medicine has viewed women and their bodies throughout history and what this might mean for the modern health care of women with endometriosis.
In doing this research I have come across some useful resources that I wish to share with you all today. I'm surprised by how little is known about women as both practitioners and patients (even among those working in the history of medicine). It’s well past time that we change this!
The majority find its past by Gerda Lerner
Medicine as culture: Illness, disease and the body by Deborah Lupton
The women in the body: A cultural analysis of reproduction by Emily Martin
Managing the monstrous feminine by Jane M. UssherThe madness of women: Myth and experience by Jane M. Ussher
The mind has no sex? Women in the origins of modern science by Londa Schiebinger
Making sex: Body and gender from the Greeks to Freud by Thomas Laqueur [and to gain a more balanced perspective on this work, I recommend The one-sex body on trial: The classical and early modern evidence by Helen King]
Lamaze: An international history by Paula Michaels
Bodies of knowledge: Sexuality, reproduction and women’s health in the second wave by Wendy Kline
Women and achievement in 19th century Europe by Linda L. Clark
Skeletons in the closet: The first illustrations of the female skeleton in eighteenth-century anatomy by Londa SchiebingerThe egg and the sperm: How science has constructed a romance based on stereotypical male-female roles by Emily Martin
Sexism in medicine by Richard Levinson – A great quote from this paper:Science and social reform: Women in public health by Elizabeth Fee and Barbara Greene
"A foreign visitor noticed that workers on electronic circuits in a factory were all women, ‘It’s close work, and women have the finger dexterity for it,’ the visitor was told. Later on in her tour, she visited a medical school class in brain surgery and remarked that the students were all men. ‘But they’ve got to be men,’ the answer came. ‘Brain surgery takes a steady hand!’"
The doctors’ dilemma: Medical women and the British suffrage movement by J.F. Geddes
Menstruation by whom? Accounts of menstruation conveyed by young women and medical experts in medical advisory columns by Elina OinasSexing the body: Representations of sex differences in Gray’s Anatomy, 1858 to the present by Alan Peteresen
Image via Death to the Stock Photo