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In celebration of international #WomenInScience day, l’d like to introduce you to 3 nutritionists/ medical researchers that I worked on during my PhD. They were pretty tough and persevering... THREAD 1/8 #histmed #histSTEM
Many women nutritionists in the mid-20th century were field workers. Field work is complex and messy, and it can be harder to implement controls. It was often looked down upon by fundamental researchers/laboratory scientists. Thus, their work was often overlooked. 2/8
First let me introduce you to Dr Lucy Wills. She was key in the discovery of #folicacid and its importance to pregnant women and their babies. Relatively overlooked in histories of #nutrition, she was recently recognised via a #googledoodle newscientist.com/article/220246… 3/8
Second here is Dr Muriel Bell. She was the first nutrition officer in the #NewZealand Department of Health and among the first women academics to work at @OtagoMedDept. She was a key advocate for pasteurised milk and fluoridated water. teara.govt.nz/en/biographies… 4/8
Third, let me introduce you to Susan Parkinson, a nutritionist and advocate of women’s rights in #Fiji, where she lived most of her long life. She wrote a key textbook on nutrition in Fiji that is still referenced today. crosbiew.blogspot.com/2012/10/obitua… 5/8
All 3 women had to battle receive qualifications. They then struggled to have their voices heard due to their gender, job titles, and fact that their work focused on women and children. Some of their work included personal risk. Yet they persisted. 6/8
This is not intended as a hagiography. All 3 were white women who at times reinforced the Western paternalism that plagued much of international health (some's views evolved more than others). We remember men with complex legacies so we should also remember complicated women. 7/8
If you are interested in unsung stories of women in international health, then this article on smallpox eradication by the brilliant @n_ganneri will be of interest qz.com/india/1758391/… 8/8.
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