From hegemony to subordination: midwives in early modern Spain
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AutorOrtiz Gómez, Teresa
Ortiz, T. From hegemony to subordination: midwives in early modern Spain. En: Marland, Hilary (ed.) The art of midwifery: early modern midwives in Europe. London: Routledge, 1993. pp. 95-114. [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/35201]
Throughout the early modern period midwives formed one of the most prominent of female occupational groups in Spain. It was the only branch of the medical professions which allowed women total hegemony until the eighteenth century. The history of women's place in the medical professions is one of their gradual exclusion, a process which has continued untel very recent times, and one which was no respecter of midwives. Indeed, a complex process of reorganization of the medical professions was taking place in eighteenth-century Spain, which paved the way for, amongst other things, the transformation of the art of midwifery into a male-dominated activity, and the subordination of midwives, who were to become the assistants of obstetric specialist in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.