In her new book, More than Medicine: A History of the Feminist Women’s Health Movement, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Professor Jennifer Nelson takes readers back to the Civil Rights, New Left and Women’s Liberation movements to shed light on the ways mainstream medicine has historically failed to address the needs of people of color, the poor and women.
Nelson discusses how the feminists of the ’60s and ’70s took up the charge to upend the way medical care had been delivered and addressed issues of sexism and gender inequality.
“They start setting up their own feminist clinics and reversing the hierarchy so that feminists and lay practitioners are in charge. They want doctors occasionally, but as assistants and to write prescriptions. They talk about medicine being not just medical care but the treatment of the entire person,” says Nelson.
Her research for the book stretches back to 2003 when she held a position at the University of Mississippi and began doing research on the development of the Mound Bayou Community Health Center in the 1960s. Nelson’s first book, Women of Color and the Reproductive Rights Movement, was published in 2003.