Midwifery as Revolutionary Feminism

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By Adrian Chan-Wyles (PhD)

‘Is your wife also active in the German ladies’ great emancipation campaign? I think that German women should begin by driving their husbands to self-emancipation.’

Marx – Letter to Kugelmann (1868)

Midwifery is a tradition, art and science that has historically seen the assistance and care of pregnant women, women giving birth, and women with young babies, historically by women, and today occasionally by men.  However, women have been marginalised and disempowered by the very men who have impregnated them, and persecuted and murdered by a misogynistic Christian Church.  Midwifery, for instance, was termed by the patriarchal Christian Church as ‘witchcraft’, and many women who practised it (that is who assisted and helped pregnant women) were prosecuted and sentenced to death by burning or drowning.  The Christian Church continued its attack on the non-Christian ‘Pagan’ religions and beliefs, and sought to disempower and eradicate all non-Christian practises and traditions.   This is why Christian nuns took-over the role of ‘Midwifery’ as a means to further exclude, marginalise and eradicate non-Christian beliefs.  Today, Midwifery is a legitimate academic subject with bachelor, master and doctorate degrees, studied for through a university, whilst Student Midwives split their time between classroom learning, and practical experience on hospital wards, assisting in the process of caring for women and the delivering of babies.  Midwifery is a modern science that grew-out of a non-Christian religious background that was then embraced by the Christian tradition, before it was developed and transformed into a modern academic subject regulated by informed study courses, and the strict administration of nationally acknowledged examinations.

Women quite rightly are in control of Midwifery, and dominate it as both an academic subject and a profession.  It is premised upon compassion for pregnant women, before, during and after the birthing process.  Midwifery, despite its feminist perspective, exists within a male-dominated National Health Service (NHS), and broader British society.  Midwifery is one of the few academic and social spaces that empowers women and girls, and provides an empowering legitimacy for the ideology of feminism.  Feminism, as a Marxist critique of male-dominated society, is a means to empower women and girls within society in such a manner that ensures equality of gender and equality of access to society and all its establishments.  Midwifery is important because it is a vital aspect of NHS care for pregnant women, and stands as a beacon of self-empowerment for women everywhere.  Midwifery has survived the pogroms of the medieval Church, and continues to provide a professional and compassionate service to the general public, whilst actively resisting the dismantling of the NHS.  Support Midwifery, support Feminism, support the NHS, and support Revolution!

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