When women disappeared, and why they came back Healthcare practitioners in Sweden, c. 1650—1900

Maria Sjöberg, University of Gothenburg

The majority of doctors, nurses and assistant nurses in private and public Swedish healthcare are currently women. In the 17th century, however, healthcare practitioners were exclusively men. Barber-surgeons, doctors, priests, barbers and pharmacists were all male-coded and guild-based occupations, in contrast to medieval times when both genders practised healthcare (Vanja 1984, Nutton 1995, Moseng 2003; Bergqvist 2013). In the late 1800s, formal practice changed again when women qualified as barber-surgeons and medical doctors, and nursing became a purely female profession (Emanuelsson 1991, Nilsson 2003, Sjöberg 2019). Things changed again in the 1900s. The first male nurses qualified in the 1950s and the first male midwives in the 1960s. In this project, gender coding will be analysed in a long time perspective, c. 1650-1900, focusing on women’s practice of healthcare. The actual paper provides an analysis of the circumstances and the female practitioners of health care in the 19th century.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 58. From Changes in Health Practitioners to Medical Narratives