By Lesley Doyal (auth.)
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A midwife’s memoir of residing unfastened and of course opposed to all odds
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Additional info for What Makes Women Sick: Gender and the Political Economy of Health
In childhood, girls may receive less care than boys in a variety of different ways (Sundari Ravindran, 1986; UNICEF, 1990; WHO, 1992, pp. 17-26). They tend to be breastfed less often than boys and for shorter periods, and throughout their childhood receive less food and medical care (Koenig and d'Souza, 1986; Kynch and Sen, 1983; Sen, 1988). In some populations this lifelong discrimination has reached the point where the ratio between men and women has become unbalanced. In Sickness and in Health 21 In India, for instance, the sex ratio fell from 972 women per thousand men in 1901 to 935 per thousand in 1981, while the ratio of women to men was increasing in most other parts of the world (Kynch and Sen, 1983, p.
The lack of boundaries was a particular problem and many felt themselves to be without physical or mental space. One woman said: I think that children take away your whole life - your identity really. They are so demanding they take everything from you then come the 40 What Makes Women Sick evening you're too exhausted to revert back to yourself ... there's no doubt about it, that your children just monopolise you, mentally, physically and emotionally (Boulton, 1983, p. 96). Many commented on the conflict between child care and housework, with children constantly undoing what had just been achieved.
In the United States, the average woman now spends slightly longer on the care of ageing parents than on raising children. The most obvious characteristics of domestic work in all countries are probably its open-endedness and its sheer volume. There is no limit to how much can be required in a given period, and no entitlement to holidays or even meal breaks. Very importantly there may be no obvious end to the working day, so that many find it difficult to separate work from rest or 'leisure'. Indeed those with young children may never really be 'off duty' as working hours even extend to periods of snatched sleep.