“The Wandering Womb”: Women’s health past and present
Exhibition at the Royal College of Nursing Library and Heritage Centre
20 Cavendish Square, London W1G 0RN
(18 October 2018 – 15 March 2019)
Women have long been viewed as at the mercy of their biology. In the ancient medical world it was believed that a “wandering womb” could cause suffocation and death. Menstruation and childbearing were thought to make women weaker and less rational than men. Rising above these challenges, 100 years ago, women secured the right to vote in the UK. At the same time, nursing was formalised as a largely female profession.
Since then, nurses have taken a leading role in challenging generalisations about women’s health. However, myths and misconceptions remain widespread, while medical and social changes have altered our biology as well as attitudes. Women are starting periods earlier and living longer beyond the menopause. This exhibition addresses what has been seen as “normal” for women, past and present, and why women’s health has long been considered “dirty” nursing.
Exhibition Launch, Thursday 18 October
Women’s Health Past and Present: Myths, Mistakes and Experiences
Thursday 18 October, 5 – 8pm
All welcome for an evening of talks and activities to launch the Women’s Health exhibition. Try your hand at activities led by the Vagina Museum and the RCN Women’s Health Forum, from ring pessary hoopla to anatomical bunting.
Talks include Anne Hanley on the history of gender politics in gynaecological and sexual health nursing, Tracey Loughran on women’s health in post-war magazines and Katharine Gale on the journey to specialist nurses in gynaecology. Refreshments provided.
Free and open to all, but booking required at: https://www.rcn.org.uk/news-and-events/events/womens-health-launch