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Gender and health: policy and practice

Anke van der Kwaak, M. Wegelin-Schuringa

The growing strength of the women’s movement in the 1960s and 1970s challenged the ‘medicalization’ of women’s bodies and the medical construction of woman’s health needs as distinct from women’s own experiences and priorities (Boston Women’s Health Book Collective 1992). The women’s movement questioned the fallacy that males, as doctors or partners, knew better or more about women’s bodies than women did. Women articulated felt experiences of mental, physical, reproductive and sexual health needs. Analysing their experiences with reference to the social, political and economic forces that shaped health, women explored the connections between race, class and gender based oppression as they affected the health of women.