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Public policy, ‘men's time’ and power: The work of community midwives in the British National Health Service

Bryson, Valerie and Deery, Ruth (2010) Public policy, ‘men's time’ and power: The work of community midwives in the British National Health Service. Women's Studies International Forum, 33 (2). pp. 91-98. ISSN 0277-5395

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Abstract

This article links theoretical work on time and gender to a case study of community-based midwives in the British National Health Service in England. While it rejects universalism or essentialism, the article argues that continuing social differences make it meaningful to talk about ‘women's time’ (cyclical, qualitative, relational, and natural time, particularly associated with private life and care) and ‘men's time’ (linear, quantitative, commodified, and clock time, particularly associated with the capitalist workplace). It also argues that gendered time cultures are bound up with gender differences in power.

The case study finds that midwives experience a damaging clash between hegemonic ‘men's time’ and the time needs of women. It also finds that, despite some recent women-friendly changes in maternity care at the level of rhetoric, market-driven reforms have consolidated an inappropriate ‘time is money’ rationality. The article concludes that we need to reassert the value of ‘women's time’ in the interests of us all.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine > RT Nursing
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences
School of Human and Health Sciences > Centre for Applied Childhood Studies
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Depositing User: Cherry Edmunds
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2010 16:31
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2011 14:55
URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/6970

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