Women have always been healers

According to Barbara Ehrenreich and Deidre English, “Women have always been healers.  We were the unlicensed doctors and anatomists of western history, abortionists, (not like abortionists of today), pharmacists, cultivators of herbs, and midwives.  For centuries women were doctors without degrees, barred from reading books and attending lectures; instead, learning from each other, and passing on experience from mother to daughter, neighbor to neighbor.  We were known as wise women in our communities, as witches or charlatans by the patriarchal authorities.  The practice of medicine is a part of our heritage — as women, it is our history, our birthright. The transition from feminine healing arts to male, professional medical practice arose during one of the darkest times of women’s history, the witch burnings where many historians estimate that millions of women, men, and children were killed.  Women made up 85% of those executed.” [1]

Today, the medical field is the domain of male professionals. Women comprise seventy percent of the workforce; but we have been incorporated as employees into an industry, where the top administrators and directors are men. (2)

[1] [2] Ehrenreich, Barbara, English, Deidre, Witches, Midwives, and Nurses; A History of Women Healers, The Feminist Press, 1973.

How do we change the paradigm of women essentially outsourcing our own wellness to harried, over-worked, health care providers?  By honoring and listening to our bodies, remembering the knowledge that was passed down from our grandmothers; and saying no to a medical culture that looks at women as the second sex, and somehow abnormal, because we do not fit into the male, medical-treatment model. The three phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle relate to the three phases of the lunar cycle. It also happens that, the three phases, or passages of our life cycle — maid, mother, grandmother, are integrally related to the universal cycle of life.

We are Womankind — the maidens, mothers, and wise-women have the power to ultimately heal what has been destroyed through fear and ignorance.


Author: H. Sandra Chevalier-Batik

I started the Inconvenient Woman Blog in 2007, and am the product of a long line of inconvenient women. The matriarchal line is French-Canadian, Roman Catholic, with a very feisty Irish great-grandmother thrown in for sheer bloody mindedness. I am a research analyst and author who has made her living studying technical data, and developing articles, training materials, books and web content. Tracking through statistical data, and oblique cross-references to find the relevant connections that identifies a problem, or explains a path of action, is my passion. I love clearly delineating the magic questions of knowledge: Who, What, Why, When, Where and for How Much, Paid to Whom. My life lessons: listen carefully, question with boldness, and personally verify the answers. I look at America through the appreciative eyes of an immigrant, and an amateur historian; the popular and political culture is a ceaseless fascination. I have no impressive initials after my name. I’m merely an observer and a chronicler, an inconvenient woman who asks questions, and sometimes encourages others to look at things differently.