Women and Medical Education (ES 5-vol. set)

1st Edition

Rui Kohiyama

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Published May 27, 2014
ISBN 9784902454802 - CAT# Y169262

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Published by Eureka Press, Tokyo, and distributed outside Japan by Routledge.

From the Introduction by Setsuko Kagawa

The history of women’s medical education is one of the most remarkable aspects of social change in nineteenth-century Britain. Before the modernization and professionalization of medicine, women played an important part in the familial or local medical care systems. However, they were gradually excluded from formal medical practice due to a lack of systematic medical education. Women who hoped to enter the medical profession were obliged to fight a long and painful struggle to gain opportunities for medical education. Sometimes they managed to take informal and personal instruction from sympathetic male physicians, or they had to go abroad to search for medical training and university degrees. Female pioneers had to break through the boundaries of gender and nation defined by medical and social authorities, and they made their way across frontiers; they fought to enter men’s universities and, furthermore, they endured a long journey to colonial lands to practice medicine. The whole story of women’s advance in medicine with collective life-histories of early female doctors reveals significant findings that give a new dimension in women’s and gender history as well as medical history.

In this series, I collected contemporary writings relating to pioneering women who contributed in opening up a path for women to practice medicine as qualified doctors in Great Britain. Most of them were of English origin with the exception of some American doctors whose achievements had considerable influence upon English practice. Equally they embraced the earnest ambition to practice scientific medicine especially for their sex, as well as the belief that women were men’ s intellectual equals. (… )

In the collected writings in this series, we can glimpse one of the most dramatic aspects of English social history from the latter half of the nineteenth to the early twentieth century. Female pioneers had fought to gain opportunities in medical education as well as access to medical practice. Most of them undertook the challenge to the unknown world; sometimes they tried to enter men’s universities, or go abroad to study at foreign universities, and, furthermore, sailed for colonial lands to practice medicine. The story of women’s medical education is valuable for many historians to explore from a variety of viewpoints, and I hope the writings in this series will be of use to future studies.

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