The historical performance of women in human health

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Eulália Santos Gomes, 23 years old, a 3rd-year medical student of the University Center of Valença in Valença, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Before Illuminism, women were responsible for having the knowledge related to the cure of diseases, they have a property in the management of medicinal herbs. For centuries the role of women in the healing scope suffers a sudden change. In the XIX century they have no longer the freedom to be “healers” due to the rise of patriarchal science¹.

In Feudalism women also had control of their bodies and reproduction. The knowledge of Midwives was extremely important to preserve this control of women over their bodies. With the development of the capitalist society, the division of work, and the power of the church, women were prohibited to preserve this kind of practices, because, at that time, the State (controlled by men) owned the sexual and reproductive control over women, and any practice of healing and management of medicinal herbs were considered Witchcraft².

The situation of women in some countries began to change thanks to the feminist movement. They started achieving the right to study at the end of the XIX century. However, although women having access to education nowadays, there are still some challenges that prevent them from achieving senior positions.

Gender labor hierarchy exists due to two factors. The first one is the stereotype that women carry since the fall of feudalism and the rise of a new work division with capitalism. The second one is the extensive Working Hours that the patriarchal society requires of women preventing them from taking positions that require higher dedication at work.

The stereotype that attaches women to “gender roles” ends up forcing them to choose specializations that society believes are more appropriate for them, for example, pediatrics, gynecology, and obstetrics³, and dermatology. Thus, men work in medical specializations that are viewed with more prestige by society and also, have a higher salary.

Furthermore, searching to reconcile medical, domestic, and reproductive work, women tend to follow careers that won’t demand a huge Working Hour³. Due to the patriarchal society, they must take care of their family. Meanwhile, men only have the function to “help” them. It lacks an effective division of the domestic work.

Hence, State leaders must plan policies to implement ONU’s Sustainable Development Goals linked to gender equality. The actions that must be taken are to promote shared householding and value women’s non-paid work at home; moreover, investing in day care for their children4. Besides, governments must encourage companies, in this case, Hospitals, to put women in senior positions; Universities must do the same regarding academic and scientific work.

References

  1. WOLF, Naomi. O mito da beleza: como as imagens de beleza são usadas contra as mulheres. Rio de Janeiro: Rosa dos Tempos, 2020.
  2. FEDERICI, Silvia. Calibã e a Bruxa: mulheres, corpo e acumulação primitiva. São Paulo: Elefante, 2017
  3. ÁVILA, Rebeca Contrera. Formação das Mulheres nas Escolas de Medicina. Revista Brasileira de Educação Médica, Campinas, v. 38, n. 1, p. 142-149, abr. 2014. Disponível em: https://www.scielo.br/pdf/rbem/v38n1/19.pdf. Acesso em: 23 mar. 2021.
  4. United Nations. Sustainable Development Goals: Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Disponível em: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/gender-equality/. Acesso em: 23 mar. 2021.

About the author

Eulália Santos Gomes, 23 years old, is a 3rd-year medical student of the University Center of Valença in Valença, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She is alocal coordinator of IFMSA Brazil Unifaa. She loves being involved in political and social movements and study politics and feminism. 

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Von der Leyen announces the start of HERA Incubator to anticipate the threat of coronavirus variants

This 12-year-old built an underwater robot to fight plastic pollution

A 10-step plan to save our seas

5 facts you might not know about why forest biodiversity matters

EU budget 2021: An annual budget focused on European recovery

“Fortress Europe”, “Pegida” and its laughing stocks

Greece returns to markets at a high cost to taxpayers, after four years out in the cold

Ecuador: UN ‘stands ready’ to support talks, in bid to end political turmoil

Civilians ‘must never be a target,’ says UN in Afghanistan, amid troubling number of casualties during Ramadan

How do you make supply chains more visible without compromising security? A Dutch start-up may have the answer

How trade-based money laundering works and its impact on world finances

Disillusioned young people – France thinks it has a solution

UN chief praises Japanese climate resilience, as Typhoon Hagibis cleanup begins

More children killed by unsafe water, than bullets, says UNICEF chief

New research reveals the true extent of corruption in fisheries

We must stop a devastating ‘battle to the end’ in southwest Syria, declares UN envoy

DiscoverEU: 20,000 more young people will explore Europe in 2020

These are the 3 key skill sets workers will need to learn by 2030

UK: Crawley group wins European Citizens’ Prize

Did Draghi ask the Germans to accept a drastic change of austerity policies?

Joint European Union-United States Statement on addressing global steel and aluminum capacity

New General Assembly President brings ‘valuable insights’ into key UN challenges

3 vital skills for the age of disruption

The UN supports Europe’s military action in Libya and the Mediterranean; Russia and China agree

Europe turns out more jobs this summer

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Europe’s children urge leaders to commit to climate action at UN Climate Summit in Paris

In aftermath of Libya airstrike deaths, UN officials call for refugees and migrants to be freed from detention

CHINA: five letters that could mean…

The world just took a step closer to eradicating polio

‘Harmonized’ plan launched to support millions of Venezuelan refugees and migrants

Here’s what a Korean boy band can teach us about globalization 4.0

Presidents of pan-European youth organisations call upon the European Council to preserve the Schengen principles

5 lessons for the future success of virtual and augmented reality

Germany is the world’s most innovative economy

EU Migrant Crisis: Italian Coast Guard Headquarters and Italian Navy to give host national opening addresses at Border Security 2016 in Rome

United States: UN chief ‘deeply saddened’ by deadly California wildfires

The price of centralization of human resources for health

Denmark is experimenting with ‘culture vitamins’ to lift people out of depression

How banking with blockchain can stamp out corruption and increase financial inclusion

African cities will double in population by 2050. Here are 4 ways to make sure they thrive

Europe bows to Turkey’s rulers, sends Syrian refugees back to chaos

These countries are driving global demand for coal

Bolivia: UN underlines support for ‘credible, transparent and inclusive’ election

Coronavirus: Commission issues guidelines on testing

A letter from Italy: Our insecurity in COVID-19 times

ICC Appeals Chamber acquits former Congolese Vice President Bemba from war crimes charges

The racial wealth gap in the US is affecting its citizens and its economy – this is how

Eurozone set to abandon monetary and incomes austerity and adopt growth friendly policies

Friday’s Daily Brief: human rights in Sudan, sombre anniversaries for Rwanda and Nigeria, and fears of ‘chaos’ in Libya

Business can be profitable AND drive progress on societal priorities

COVID19 a wake-up call to address development fault lines in Asia and the Pacific

EU, Canada and China co-host international meeting on climate cooperation and a sustainable economic recovery

Why building consumer trust is the key to unlocking AI’s true potential

How populist and xenophobic movements in the EU tear apart European businesses and startups

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of GrandVision by EssilorLuxottica

Protecting citizens’ access to social security in case of no-deal Brexit

Amid strong outlook for U.S. economy, risks abound

How can emerging economies navigate the mobility transition?

Vaccine nationalism – and how it could affect us all

Who is culpable in the EU for Ukraine’s defection to Russia?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s