[W]omen clients came to us because we were all women. Women doctors, women nurses, women running clinics.
From the opening of birthcontrol clinics in the early 1920s to the Family Planning Act in 1967, women have been central actors in the campaign for birthcontrol and contraception in Britain
During the interwar years, women doctors medicalised birthcontrol in Britain by developing a number of strategies to position themselves as experts in contraception and sexual disorders.
Among these strategies were publication of medical articles on birthcontrol and participation in medical conferences. Yet these forms of dissemination of medical knowledge were not restricted to the national sphere; British women doctors also took part in international conferences on birthcontrol. In fact
Women’s medicine explores the key role played by British female doctors in the
production and circulation of contraceptive knowledge and the handling of sexual
disorders between the 1920s and 1970s at the transnational level, taking France
as a point of comparison. This study follows the path of a set of women doctors
as they made their way through the predominantly male-dominated medical
landscape in establishing birth control and family planning as legitimate fields
of medicine. This journey encompasses their practical engagement with birth
control and later family planning clinics in Britain, their participation in the
development of the international movement of birth control and family planning
and their influence on French doctors. Drawing on a wide range of archived and
published medical materials, this study sheds light on the strategies British
female doctors used, and the alliances they made, to put forward their medical
agenda and position themselves as experts and leaders in birth control and
family planning research and practice.
In ‘One Woman's Mission’, an article in the Sunday Times Magazine in 1973, pioneer birthcontrol activist and female gynaecologist Helena Wright recalled the pivotal moment in her career. In 1928, Wright intrepidly dedicated herself to making contraception both acceptable and accessible. Looking back on this decision, she explained: ‘It seemed to me in a prophetic way, that birthcontrol was the single subject that women doctors had to get hold of.’
The implications of Wright's vision for
BirthControl Clinics but in many instances these are staffed by registrars who are birds of passage and incidentally again mainly male.
One outcome of these changes is that an important source of work for women doctors, and one … which they are ideally qualified to undertake, many being wives and mothers, will be closed. I feel it is important that the MWF should approach the British Medical Association and also make representations to the department of Health and Social Security about the uncertain future many of us now face
This chapter delves into the many ways in which British women doctors pressed for the development of an international movement for birthcontrol and family planning, from the first attempt in 1928 to create an international organisation to the establishment of the International Planned Parenthood Federation in 1952.
In addition, this chapter pushes the transnational approach even further by showing how the circulation of actors and knowledge from Britain to France eased the creation of a
gynaecologist Helena Wright, with the backup of the BirthControl Investigation Committee (BCIC), was testing the ring in her private practice, while Dr Margaret Jackson also fitted her patients with the device in her private practice in Devonshire up until the 1960s, at which point she started testing other new intrauterine devices as well.
The last chapter of this book takes the testing of the Gräfenberg ring and later forms of intrauterine devices as a case study through which to explore the crucial contributions of Helena Wright and Margaret Jackson to
Oh this isn't so boring if you get your climax.
Joan Malleson, 1950s
During the interwar period and onwards, family planning centres expanded their birthcontrol sessions into sexual advice, which became available primarily through the activities of women doctors in Britain. They set up advisory sessions on ‘sub-fertility’, which
Lesbian citizenship and filmmaking in Sweden in the 1970s
was inserted into the National Board of Health and Welfare’s budget and
administered as an issue of birthcontrol education. Looking closer at the
two films’ representation of lesbianism, noting how they downplay sexual
desire, I argue that rather than simply exemplifying the transnational lesbian feminist movement’s alleged anti-
sex politics, this articulation of
lesbian identity should be understood as shaped by the interaction with official sexual policymaking in Sweden at this crucial moment in time. These
neglected films and their production
In May 1958, and four years into the Algerian War of Independence, a revolt again appropriated the revolutionary and republican symbolism of the French Revolution by seizing power through a Committee of Public Safety. This book explores why a repressive colonial system that had for over a century maintained the material and intellectual backwardness of Algerian women now turned to an extensive programme of 'emancipation'. After a brief background sketch of the situation of Algerian women during the post-war decade, it discusses the various factors contributed to the emergence of the first significant women's organisations in the main urban centres. It was only after the outbreak of the rebellion in 1954 and the arrival of many hundreds of wives of army officers that the model of female interventionism became dramatically activated. The French military intervention in Algeria during 1954-1962 derived its force from the Orientalist current in European colonialism and also seemed to foreshadow the revival of global Islamophobia after 1979 and the eventual moves to 'liberate' Muslim societies by US-led neo-imperialism in Afghanistan and Iraq. For the women of Bordj Okhriss, as throughout Algeria, the French army represented a dangerous and powerful force associated with mass destruction, brutality and rape. The central contradiction facing the mobile socio-medical teams teams was how to gain the trust of Algerian women and to bring them social progress and emancipation when they themselves were part of an army that had destroyed their villages and driven them into refugee camps.