About This Show
Academic papers on the history of medicine and medical humanities from the Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland (CHOMI). The Centre, founded in 2006, is based in the School of History, University College Dublin. CHOMI seeks to promote the study of the social and cultural history of medicine in Ireland. Its research and other activities are supported by a range of funding bodies including the Wellcome Trust.
Most Recent Episode
Gender Health and Work in Britain and America, 1860–1960
Dr Janet Greenlees (Glasgow Caledonian University)
Dr Fiachra Byrne (UCD Centre for the History of Medicine)
The Tenuous Relationship Between Gender Health and Work in Britain and America, c.1860–1960
UCD Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland Seminar Series, 4 February 2016
Interior of Magnolia Cotton Mills spinning room. Lewis Wickes Hine, 3 May 1911. National Archives and Records Administration, College Park. ARC Identifier: 523307. Public Domain.
This paper looks at the intersection of public health and the working environment in Britain and America during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It focuses particularly on gender and how workers, male and female, understood the perceived occupational health risks in the two countries.
In her talk, Janet explores the experiences of occupational ill-health of male and female workers when they worked alongside each other, and their responses in managing health and in seeking reforms to an unhealthy work environment. She presents a rich, multi-layered narrative involving employers, workers, politicians, social reformers, and purveyors of medicines – with these different groups of actors being important in different situations as both individuals and as groups of men and women who daily calculated the health risks associated with work and who sought to address such risks within the boundary of what they deemed acceptable working conditions. This boundary was fluid and it only sometimes corresponded with either trade union or political agendas. Workers’ agency also varied depending on the relative personal, economic, and labour market constraints at play.
Dr Janet Greenlees