The Politics of Women's Health

Exploring Agency and Autonomy

Susan Sherwin, and The Feminist Health Care Ethics Research Network
Book Cover

PB: $32.95
EAN: 978-1-56639-633-2
Publication: Jun 98

HC: $66.50
EAN: 978-1-56639-632-5
Publication: Jun 98

336 pages
6 x 9
2 figs.

The practical issues of women's empowerment in the health-care system and the deep assumptions and values that underlie that system


For four years this interdisciplinary group of scholars and practitioners, including physicians, lawyers, philosophers, and social scientists, collaborated closely on the development of these essays. The result is an examination of both the real world of women's health status and health-care delivery in different countries, and the assumptions behind the dominant medical model of solving problems without regard to social conditions. The writing is also informed by some of the authors' own experiences with women's health issues: birth, menopause, major surgery, and providing care for mothers and grandmothers.

Rather than focusing on types of medical interventions, The Politics of Women's Health asks what feminist health-care ethics looks like if we start with women's experiences and concerns. It begins to unravel two key concepts of women's empowerment- agency and autonomy-that apply to all areas of concern to women.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction – Susan Sherwin with Voices from the Network
2. A Relational Approach to Autonomy in Health-Care – Susan Sherwin
3. Situating Women in the Politics of Health – Margaret Lock
4. The Politics of Health: Geneticization vs. Health Promotion – Abby Lippman
5. Contested Bodies, Contested Knowledges: Women, Health, and the Politics of Medicalization – Kathryn Pauly Morgan
6. Agency, Diversity, and Constraints: Women and Their Physicians, Canada 1850-1959 – Wendy Mitchinson
7. Reflections on the Transfer of "Progress": The Case of Reproduction – Maria De Koninck
8. Anomalous Women and Political Strategies for Aging Societies – Margaret Lock
9. (Re)fashioning Medicine's Response to Wife Abuse – Marilynne Bell and Janet Mosher
10. Reframing Research Involving Humans – Françoise Baylis, Jocelyn Downie, and Susan Sherwin
About the Authors

About the Author(s)

Susan Sherwin is Professor of Philosophy and Women's Studies, Dalhousie University.