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date: 29 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Women’s health movements have been active in the United States since the nineteenth century, but this chapter primarily focuses on the tremendous range of activism in the past fifty years. The first section, tracing the evolution from a strong grassroots movement in the late 1960s to professionalized single-issue advocacy organizations in the 1990s, focuses on activists’ efforts to educate women, promote self-help, and advocate for specific diseases and groups. The second section highlights how activists challenged sexism within medicine and promoted alternative services such as feminist health clinics. The next section chronicles how activists, often as insiders, successfully fought for new organizational structures, policies, and governmental funding for women’s health research. The chapter concludes with suggestions for future scholarship in order to understand the shifting boundaries and limits of the movement, including debates over institutionalization and how best to improve the health of all women.

Keywords: women’s health movement, disease advocacy organizations, self-help, sexism, feminist health centers, women’s health research, institutionalization

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