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Women have been engaged in well-being, care-giving, and healing, often within the context of the home, since earliest times. In this book, Leigh Whaley studies the role, contributions, and challenges faced by women healers in Early Modern Europe, c.1400-1800. With a focus on the countries of France, Spain, Italy and England, she includes the role of medical practice among women in the Jewish and Muslim communities.  Providing an introduction to the work performed by various kinds of female medical practitioners, healers and writers, the book also considers the various attitudes towards the woman healer and stresses the importance of gender in the healing arts.
The first attempt to provide a scholarly and general overview of women and their relationship to medicine, Whaley brings together a mass of secondary and contemporary literature and sources to go beyond the concept of women's contributions to medicine as being confined to midwifery, nursing, unofficial village healing and domestic medicine. In addition, the book aims to explain why women were, for the most part, excluded from the practice of formal medicine until the final decades of the Nineteenth century as well as exploring what social factors determined that women would not practice medicine, and the strategies women adopted to counter-act the prevailing dominant culture.

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