ENERO 2008 N° 1 Volumen 6

?Gender, labour and medicine?



Mª de los Ángeles Castaño Molina


Licenciada en Antropología. Matrona.

Contact address

C/ Democracia, 7. 30152 Aljucer (Murcia).

Contact email: angcastano@hotmail.com


Labour and delivery is a subject of current interest due to those who voice out their wish for labour to be a non-medicalised process. Thanks to medical intervention, the morbimortality of both mother and infant has decreased. Based on an analysis dating back to the industrial revolution, we can confirm that the life of women in Western countries has been conditioned by a series of characteristics typical of a patriarchal society, which has left us out of our capacity to make decisions regarding our vital cycle and, on occasions, prevented access to professional training. The aim of this work is to gather some thoughts and to foster communications amongst professionals, and between professionals and society, as far as labour and delivery is concerned, and to analyse the current situation from an anthropological perspective, using the materialistic theory to that end in order to show ideological differences with regards to this subject, which are justified on the basis of the experience and lived personal experiences influenced by socio-cultural factors. Taking as reference two representative associations of different ideology, the Spanish Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (SEGO), and the association “Labour is our business” (EPEN), we are able to study the existing differences from a social, financial, political and ideological perspective, arguing that these constructions are social representations of what happens today in our setting. The conclusions derived from this analysis confirm that inter-professional relationship as well as the relationship between professionals and users give rise to frustrated expectations caused by poor communication among people with different ideological concepts about the labour process.


gender; labourmedicine

Versión en Español


"Género, parto y medicina"