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Women in Europe and the United States, no less than in many developing countries, are responsible for daily healing and pharmacological knowledge in households, doctors' offices, clinics, and hospitals.Given this existing, intense involvement, the absence of women from health policy councils neglects resources that can be used to advance everyone's health.In societies where women are responsible for local agriculture, animal husbandry, and forestry, they develop repositories of knowledge about their environment that is continually tested and revised as the environmental and social conditions of their work change.
What positive effects, if any, have these changes had on the sciences and their institutions and cultural practices?
It appears that improving women's opportunities in science has benefited both the sciences and the cause of women in general, for the example of women's successes in fields thought to be most resistant to them has provided powerful encouragement to women seeking equality in other endeavors.
Her latest publication is, (Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN, 1998).
Three decades ago women's movements around the globe were rigorously questioning the exclusion of women, their interests, and visions of the good life, from policy debates, including those of science.
The entrance of women into such professions enables the sciences to take at least some credit for increasing social justice and for providing an example of what is possible far beyond the borders of scientific and technological institutions themselves.
Advancing scientific careers for women has led to other benefits for science, the most obvious being an enlarged pool of smart, well-trained, highly motivated individuals from which to staff its projects.Health sciences are not the only area to benefit from the enhanced role of women.Including women in the selection and supervision of projects increases the perceived legitimacy of the research results and, sometimes, the actual objectivity and effectiveness of research projects.In this context it is worth pointing out that so-called women's health issues are not just about women's bodies.As long as women continue to be responsible for the daily maintenance of households and their family's health, women's health issues will include everyone's health issues.Whatever the social, political, or psychological benefits that men may have gained by discriminating against women in the past, the intellectual loss has never been justified.Invoking gender criteria when recruiting and advancing the best scientists and engineers works against their interests.Some are perfectly legitimate in that scientists wanted to make certain that women's reproductive systems were not damaged by drugs with unknown effects. Women, too, regularly take aspirin and other medicines, yet many of these drugs have not been tested on women.Here we enter the complex realm of culture and politics.For example, it has been commonly assumed that women's bodies, for the purpose of scientific research, are not as representative of the species as are men's.Recall all of those illustrations in anatomy and physiology texts, where women's bodies appear only in the section on reproductive systems.