scandinavian and baltic studies

January 2018

198pp + 12pp plate section

£80.00

hb

978 1 86057 136 7

Scandinavia and the Baltic - Transational and International Challenges

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Women in Swedish Society

The Work, Health and Life Experiences of Women in Twentieth-century Sweden

 

Annika Forssén & Gunilla Carlstedt

‘A fascinating insight ... a vivid picture of personal and professional struggles unimaginable in the modern world ... This engaging book is a testimony to women’s strength and resilience, and will be an essential read to all those who have an interest in the history and future of women’s lives.’
Professor Jane M. Ussher, Western Sydney University

 

Women in Swedish Society is a groundbreaking study by two general practitioners, Annika Forssén and Gunilla Carlstedt, who believed that the medical profession and accepted medical science was inadequately responding to the health problems presented by their female patients.

 

Rejecting the tendency of the medical profession to link women's symptoms with female psychological issues or reproductive biology, the authors undertook their own in-depth research, drawing on systematic, wide-ranging interviews with 20 carefully chosen subjects. Their goal was to identify how women's daily lives, in particular their personal circumstances and work experiences - both in salaried employment and in the home - impacted on their health.

 

Women in Swedish Society incorporates the detailed and intimate testimonies of these women. Through them, Forssén and Carlstedt illustrate how changes in female health and wellbeing reflect the radical changes in Swedish society during their lifetimes, which spanned the twentieth century. The authors also make comparisons with the situation of contemporary Swedish women, finding that despite the shift in social attitudes and improved opportunities for women, many issues surrounding power, class and division of labor as well as medical care remain unresolved.

Dr. Annika Forssén is a general practitioner and Associate Professor in Family Medicine at Umeå University, Sweden. Dr. Gunilla Carlstedt is a retired general practitioner and PhD. The research presented here was originally published as a joint thesis in Swedish in 1999: Mellan ansvar och makt. En diskussion om arbete, hälsa och ohälsa utifrån tjugo kvinnors livsberättelser. In Women in Swedish Society this material has been substantially revised and updated. The English translation is by Rochelle Wright, Professor Emerita at the University of Illinois, and is published as part of Welsh Academic Press’ Scandinavia and the Baltic - Transnational and International Challenges series edited by Professor Jason Lavery of Oklahoma State University.

 

CONTENTS

Preface

Part I - Conversations With Twenty Women
1. Growing Up
2. Couple Relationships and Social Life
3. Childbearing
4. Caring for Children and Other Family Members
5. Running a Household
6. In the Work Force
7. Health and Illness
8. Looking Back, and Ahead

Part II - Analysis and Discussion
9. Childbearing as Work
10. Unpaid Work
11. Paid Work
12. Illness, Medical Care and Society
13. Everyday Life and Health

Conclusion

Appendix: Significant Dates in Women’s History in Sweden

 

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