Restoring the Balance: Women Physicians and the Profession of Medicine, 1850-1995

By Ellen S. More | Go to book overview
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Introduction
Restoring the Balance?

In all departures of health of body, mind, or spirit, I believe there is a
loss of balance. [Though] we may have other terms, harmony, equilib-
rium, etc., the point and principle of getting righted… must be to re-
store that balance.

Sarah Adamson Dolley, M.D., 1896

If we women can be more honest in dealing with conflicts between
family and career, we can lead our male colleagues to also be more
open and flexible in balancing personal and professional lives.

Anonymous quotation in Association of American
Medical Colleges Project Committee Report,
Increasing Women’s Leadership in Academic Medicine, 1996

FROM DRS. BERNADINE HEALY, Frances Conley, Antonia Novello, Joycelyn Elders, Ruth Kirschstein, Vivian Pinn, Susan Love, Joyce Wallace, and Nancy Dickey to Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, American women physicians were a notable public presence during die 1990s.1 As government officials, researchers, clinicians, and reformers, women physicians appeared prominently in media coverage of the medical profession. This is a far cry from the mixture of public condescension and admiration accorded the nineteenth-century pioneer Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, or the anger and resentment directed at so many of her successors until well into the 1970s.

Not all cultural indicators of women’s progress in medicine are so encouraging, however. For women struggling to succeed in the medical professions, indeed in all fields, books and articles about sexual harassment, the “mommy track,” and the “second shift,” as well as the persistence of sex stereotyping, glass ceilings, unequal pay, and unreliable day care, indicate that much work remains to be done. Women in medicine

-1-

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