Views & Reviews Past Caring

Women of substance

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b2522 (Published 19 June 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b2522
  1. Wendy Moore, freelance writer and author, London
  1. wendymoore{at}ntlworld.com

    The future is female— within a decade most UK doctors will be women—but then so was the past.

    As herbalists, midwives, bonesetters, wives, and mothers, women have long provided the bulk of health care throughout the world. A plucky few were even allowed to scale the lofty heights to fame and, occasionally, fortune.

    A female teacher, known only as Trotula, at the medical school of Salerno is believed to have written several important medical tracts in the 12th century, while the polymathic abbess Hildegard of Bingen was a renowned healer whose Book of Simple Medicine was a medieval page turner. …

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