ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Gender Biases in Medicine

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t is undeniable that the social and cultural context of illness, health, and life is as intricately woven into medicine as is in science. Medicine is built on the pillars of male dominance and with it the superiority of a man’s body. It has traditionally absorbed social stereotypes and strived to subordinate women. There is an abundance of research evidence that suggests the construction of medical knowledge in a way that enforces the women-as-reproductive-bodies-and-nothing-more discourse over and over again and we see that across history.

Greek physician Hippocrates in his wandering womb theory defined hysteria as a diagnosis for such physical and mental ailments of women which the male doctors could not understand. This inherently linked hysteria with a woman and her body. Although hysteria was delegitimised as a medical condition in 1980, the general feeling that women’s reactions to pain are somehow “hysterical” is still strong.

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