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.
Marie-Luce Desgrandchamps, Lasse Heerten, Arua Oko Omaka, Kevin O'Sullivan, and Bertrand Taithe
, female nurses, womendoctors and other aid workers in the crisis – we talk a lot about
missionaries as men and aid workers as men, but women played a sizeable role in the
delivery of aid.
Lasse: Just to echo that: I also only discovered glimpses into a more
complex understanding of how gender worked in the field. Our narratives about
humanitarian work are predominantly masculine narratives – echoing the way
Biafra aid, for instance, was internationally
In ‘One Woman's Mission’, an article in the Sunday Times Magazine in 1973, pioneer birth control 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 birth control was the single subject that womendoctors had to get hold of.’
The implications of Wright's vision for
I am writing about an important uncertainty affecting many womendoctors working in family planning. As you will no doubt be aware many of us have acquired over the years considerable expertise in this field and there seems to be a strong possibility in light of the government proposals that this work will largely be taken over by General Practitioners of very varied training in family planning and of course mostly male.
It is also true that some hospitals are opening
During the interwar years, womendoctors medicalised birth control 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 birth control and participation in medical conferences. Yet these forms of dissemination of medical knowledge were not restricted to the national sphere; British womendoctors also took part in international conferences on birth control. In fact
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 birth control sessions into sexual advice, which became available primarily through the activities of womendoctors in Britain. They set up advisory sessions on ‘sub-fertility’, which
[W]omen clients came to us because we were all women. Womendoctors, women nurses, women running clinics.
From the opening of birth control clinics in the early 1920s to the Family Planning Act in 1967, women have been central actors in the campaign for birth control and contraception in Britain
analysis a major consideration.
The BCIC financed much of the research on fertility carried out in laboratories by physiologists, thus helping to promote the new vision adopted by the MRC. Trials with the same methods were also carried out in birth control clinics or private practice headed by womendoctors. These methods met with resistance, however, from a segment of the medical profession, who called for a more ‘individualised conception of illness and its treatment’, made possible by the critical eye of individual
This chapter delves into the many ways in which British womendoctors pressed for the development of an international movement for birth control 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
The book explores the relationship between violence against women on one hand,
and the rights to health and reproductive health on the other. It argues that
violation of the right to health is a consequence of violence, and that (state)
health policies might be a cause of – or create the conditions for – violence
against women. It significantly contributes to feminist and international human
rights legal scholarship by conceptualising a new ground-breaking idea, violence
against women’s health (VAWH), using the Hippocratic paradigm as the backbone of
the analysis. The two dimensions of violence at the core of the book – the
horizontal, ‘interpersonal’ dimension and the vertical ‘state policies’
dimension – are investigated through around 70 decisions of domestic, regional
and international judicial or quasi-judicial bodies (the anamnesis). The concept
of VAWH, drawn from the anamnesis, enriches the traditional concept of violence
against women with a human rights-based approach to autonomy and a reflection on
the pervasiveness of patterns of discrimination (diagnosis). VAWH as theorised
in the book allows the reconceptualisation of states’ obligations in an
innovative way, by identifying for both dimensions obligations of result, due
diligence obligations, and obligations to progressively take steps (treatment).
The book eventually asks whether it is not international law itself that is the
ultimate cause of VAWH (prognosis).