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Women and Modern Medicine

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Modernising scientific medicine emerged in the nineteenth century as an increasingly powerful agent of change in a context of complex social developments. Women's lives and expectations in particular underwent a transformation in the years after 1870 as education, employment opportunities and political involvement extended their personal and gender horizons. For women, medicine came to offer not just treatment in the event of illness but the possibilities of participation in medical practise, of shaping social policies and political understandings, and of altering the biological imperatives of their bodies. The essays in this collection explore various ways in which women responded to these challenges and opportunities and sought to use the power of modernising Western medicine to further their individual and gender interests.

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