Women and health care: a comparison of theories

E. Fee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


There are 3 distinct approaches to the analysis of women's position in society, and thus of women's relation to the health care system. Liberal feminists seek equal opportunity 'within the system,' demand equal opportunity and employment for women in health care, and are critical of the patronizing attitudes of physicians. Radical feminists reject 'the system' as one based on the oppression of women and seek to build alternative structures to better fill their needs. They see the division between man and woman as the primary contradiction in society and patriarchy as its fundamental institution. They have initiated self help groups and women's clinics to extend the base of health care controlled by women in their own interests. Marxist feminists see the particular oppression of women as generated by contradictions within the development of capitalism. Women's unpaid labor at home and underpaid labor in the work force both serve the interests of the owners of capital. The health care system serves these same interests; it maintains and perpetuates the social class structure while becoming increasingly alienated from the health needs of the majority of the population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-415
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Health Services
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1975

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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