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Women in Medicine: Past, Present, and Future - Research Paper Example

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The history of women in medicine dates all the way back to ancient Athens when women were forbidden by law to practice medicine. It is believed that a woman by the name of Agnodice was able to successfully masquerade as a man and learn from the medical teachers of the time in order to become an early version of a mid-wife of OBB- Gynecologist…
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Women in Medicine: Past, Present, and Future
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"Women in Medicine: Past, Present, and Future"

Download file to see previous pages When she was brought to trial upon accusations leading to the reasons as to why most women in the town preferred “him” over the other doctors in the area. After she proved her gender by raising her tunic, she was then tried for exercising a profession that she was not legally allowed to do so. When the women she had helped to health came forward to defend her, this started the era of freeborn Athenian women being granted the right to study and practice medicine. While most people this tale to be one that was propagated in the mid seventeenth century, and that Agnodice did not really exist, this is the defense that most female medical practitioners use in their defense when questioned about their medical practice in a male dominated profession (“Women in Medicine”). The nineteenth and twentieth centuries finally saw the emergence of women from the shadows of medical practice as they were finally given the right and privilege to become full medical practitioners rather than just simply being nurses and midwives. It is important to note that this recognition that women had something to contribute to the medical world came only after a long struggle to earn the right to practice. Before they were recognized, women physicians were either practicing in secret and only learned what they could from their positions as wives or daughters of lower-order wound surgeon. Even though they earned the right to practice medicine, that does not erase the fact that society in general still disapproved of their actions and often times displayed antagonism towards the female medical practitioners (Lyons, Albert “Medical History -- Women in Medicine”). Somehow though, women were not truly allowed to practice medicine in the method that their male counterparts did. Instead, they were relegated to midwifery roles that kept them pigeonholed into one avenue of medicine. Rather than being disheartened, women such as Mme. Boursier of France took the ceiling to be nothing more than a hurdle that had to be jumped over. Which explains why she became the first female author of a scientific book on midwifery (Lyons, Albert “Medical History -- Women in Medicine”). In England, Dr. James Barry had a highly regarded reputation as a skillful surgeon. Such were his skills that he was eventually drafted into the British army where he saved many lives. Although Dr. Barry had many shared features with women of the time, nobody questioned the gender of the good doctor due to the skills that he displayed. It was only upon “his” death that the truth was revealed. Dr. Barry was a woman. In order prevent the embarrassment of the establishment over the fact that they never figured out the true gender of Dr. Barry during her lifetime, the good doctor was, for all intents and purposes, buried as a man (Lyons, Albert “Medical History -- Women in Medicine”). Such was the case for medical training and practice for women in most parts of the world except for Italy where women had earned the right to be taught properly and allowed to practice medicine openly centuries before the struggle began to take flight in other countries. A closer study of the history of women in medicine will show that the main reason women were held back from serious studies in the field of medicine was because women were judged to be the weaker sex and as such, could not be mentally, intellectually, and physically capable of becoming doctors. The tide began turning for women who wanted to become doctors in the 18th century when women began to gain admittance into medical schools in Zurich. This was a trend that slowly began to spread across Europe and found Paris as the center ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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