A groundbreaking new story of women's journey through medicine, exposing the historic origins of the gender pain gap.
'We are taught that medicine is the art of solving our body's mysteries. And as a science, we expect medicine to uphold the principles of evidence and impartiality. We want our doctors to listen to us and care for us as people, but we also need their assessments of our pain and fevers, aches and exhaustion to be free of any prejudice about who we are, our gender, or the colour of our skin. But medicine carries the burden of its own troubling history. The history of medicine, of illness, is a history of people, of their bodies and their lives, not just physicians, surgeons, clinicians and researchers. And medical progress has always reflected the realities of a changing world, and the meanings of being human.'
In Unwell Women Elinor Cleghorn unpacks the roots of the perpetual misunderstanding, mystification and misdiagnosis of women's bodies, and traces the journey from the 'wandering womb' of ancient Greece, the rise of witch trials in Medieval Europe, through the dawn of Hysteria, to modern day understandings of autoimmune diseases, the menopause and conditions like endometriosis. Packed with character studies of women who have suffered, challenged and rewritten medical orthodoxy - and drawing on her own experience of un-diagnosed Lupus disease - this is a ground-breaking and timely expose of the medical world and woman's place within it.
Dr Elinor Cleghorn is a feminist cultural historian. After receiving her PhD in 2012, Elinor spent three years as a post-doctoral researcher at the Ruskin School, University of Oxford, working on an interdisciplinary medical humanities project. She now works as a writer and researcher, and lives in Sussex. Her own pain and other symptoms were dismissed for seven years before she was finally diagnosed with lupus.