Abstract

Medicine and law have traditionally been viewed as elite masculine fields, and they therefore offer a useful prism to evaluate feminization. This article examines the rise of women doctors and lawyers in Third Republic France (1870–1940): women's struggle for access, their growth and progress as medical and legal practitioners, and the resentment they encountered anew in the 1930s. Although antifeminism was ingrained in the professional ethos of medicine and law, women were only one social category targeted by discrimination, especially during the interwar period. Foreigners, naturalized citizens, the lower social classes, and the elderly also served as scapegoats for such perceived problems in the professions as overcrowding and declining standards. Economic protectionism and fears of changing professional identity constituted key motivations behind antiwomen sentiment. Women's success is due largely to the republican state, to prowomen currents in the professions, and to women's emergent self-promotion.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2036
Print ISSN
1042-7961
Pages
pp. 60-86
Launched on MUSE
2007-10-01
Open Access
No
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