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

By Ellen S. More | Go to book overview

8
Medicine and the New
Women ‘s Movement

The fact is that in the field of medicine, the significant battle, the one
that counts above others—equal opportunity to get into medical
school—has been won.

E. Grey Dimond, M.D., 1983

However, men who have worked to eliminate discrimination cannot
assume that their job is finished.

Marilyn Heins, M.D., 1983

IF CAROL LOPATE’S 1968 study, Women in Medicine, conveys the liminal quality of the 1960s for women in medicine—a threshold reached but not yet crossed—then Mary Roth Walsh’s book Doctors Wanted: No Women Need Apply, published nine years later, reflects the profound change in attitude and expectations brought about by the rebirth of feminism during the intervening years.1 Passage in 1971 and 1972 of the “equal opportunity” amendments to the 1964 Civil Rights Act proved to be the catalyst women needed to increase their representation in many professional fields. Indeed, nothing better illustrates how closely the status of women physicians mirrored that of all white-collar American women than the impact of equal opportunity legislation on the medical profession. The rapid alteration of medicine’s demographic profile reflected the effects of the sudden transformation of gender politics.


The Equal Opportunity Era

Titles VI and VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act banned discrimination on the basis of race and sex but exempted colleges and universities from

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