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

Valerie Bryson, Ruth Deery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

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. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-98
Number of pages8
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
Volume33
Issue number2
Early online date27 Nov 2009
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2010

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