Article ID: CBB000930215

“The Glands of Destiny”: Hygiene, Hormones and English Women Doctors in the First Half of the 20th Century (2006)


Members of the English Medical Women's Federation, founded in 1917, were at the forefront of research into menstruation and menopause in the interwar years. As new hormonal understandings of the menstrual cycle emerged, women doctors and international sanitary product companies sought to educate women about their changing bodies and to reconfigure menstruation and menopause as minor events in women's lives which in no way inhibited their activities. Changing educational and employment patterns of women meant that both events, once managed in the context of the home, were increasingly managed in a public context. As knowledge of hormones increased, menopause was described as a deficiency disease which could be treated by hormone therapy. Just as one set of gendered assumptions about health, to do with menstrual disability, faded from view, medical women were exposed to another, the idea that estrogens were constitutive of femininity.

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Authors & Contributors
Houck, Judith A.
Hoberman, John M.
Watkins, Elizabeth Siegel
Harkness, Deborah E.
Newcombe, Suzanne
Mitchinson, Wendy
Bulletin of the History of Medicine
Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/Bulletin Canadienne d'Histoire de la Medecine
Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity
Women's History Review
Health and History
History of Education
University of California Press
Harvard University Press
Johns Hopkins University Press
University of Minnesota
McMaster University (Canada)
University of California, Berkeley
Women and health
Medicine and gender
Women in medicine
Zakrzewska, Marie E.
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
20th century
20th century, late
18th century
16th century
Great Britain
United States
London (England)
Queensland (Australia)
Birmingham (England)

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