Gender, Science and Innovation
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Gender, Science and Innovation

New Perspectives

Edited by Helen Lawton Smith, Colette Henry, Henry Etzkowitz and Alexandra Poulovassilis

Gender, Science and Innovation explores the contemporary challenges facing women scientists in academia and develops effective strategies to improve gender equality. Addressing an important gap in current knowledge, chapters offer a range of international perspectives from diverse contexts, countries and institutional settings. This book is an essential contribution to the literature for academics, researchers and policy makers concerned with improving gender equality in academia and seeking to learn from the experiences of others.
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Chapter 6: Feminization of the medical profession

Rita Biancheri

Abstract

This chapter moves away from a bio-medical approach and adopts an integrated and non-reductive perspective to analyse the health sector. It uses gender to confute the neutrality and objectivity of science to re-examine the epistemological foundations of a discipline that has a masculine inclination. Our research on the feminization of the medical profession allows us to refer to the processual dimension that, despite women’s educational achievements, still results in inequalities in terms of roles, relationships, expectations, obligations and behaviours that are considered culturally appropriate in the reproductive sphere and that resist ongoing social changes. With the help of feminist thinking, an effort is made to demonstrate the contamination of science by society’s values and principles in terms of understanding the mechanisms underlying the production of knowledge. By adopting a hermeneutic approach, we focus on the organization, regulations, informal rules and values of the ‘scientific community’ that hinder female careers.

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