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J Public Health Policy. 1989 Summer;10(2):161-77.

Science and social reform: women in public health.


This paper examines the historical role of women in public health, and argues that the recent trend of larger numbers of women entering schools of public health is not so much a new phenomenon as a recovery of some of the traditions of the progressive era. Public health was then seen as compatible with the ideology of womanhood, a legitimate way for middle-class women to participate in public life. Women physicians, nurses, and scientists were prominent in the early public health movement, in such areas as maternal and child health, statistics, bacteriology, and occupational health. This paper highlights the contributions of some of the women involved in public health research and practice. It concludes by noting that the motivations of many women students in schools of public health today are similar to those expressed by the social reformers and scientists of the progressive era.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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