- Project Runeberg -  The story of San Michele /
185

(1929) [MARC] Author: Axel Munthe - Tema: Medicine
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to become more and more accentuated the higher
the types are developed. We are told that it
can all be explained by the fact that we have
kept all culture as a sex monopoly to ourselves,
that the women have never had a fair chance.
Haven’t they? Even in Athens the situation
of the women was not inferior to that of the men,
every branch of the culture was at their
disposition. The Ionic and Doric races always
recognized their freedom, it was even too great
with the Lacedœmonians. During the whole
Roman Empire, four hundred years of high
culture, the women enjoyed a great deal of
freedom. It is enough to remember that they
disposed entirely of their own property. During
the Middle Ages the instruction of the women
was far superior to that of men. The knights
knew better how to handle the sword than the
pen, the monks were learned but there were
plenty of nunneries as well, with equal
opportunities to learn for their inmates. Look at our
own profession where the women are no
newcomers! There were already women professors
at the school of Salerno, Louise Bourgeois
physician to Marie de Medicis the wife of Henry
IV wrote a bad book on midwifery, Marguerite
la Marche was sage-femme en chef at the Hôtel
Dieu in 1677, Madame La Chapelle and Madame
Boivin wrote endless books on women’s diseases,
all very poor stuff. During the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries there were plenty of women
professors in the famous Italian universities,
Bologna, Pavia, Ferrara, Naples. They never
did anything to advance their special science.

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