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The women’s health movement focused on the belief that women need to be informed decision makers about their own health care and that they should have control over their bodies. The movement centered on issues of mental and physical health and was prominent during the feminist movement of the 1970s. This entry provides a historical overview of women’s health, reviews issues specifically affecting women, reports the leading causes of death among women, reviews disparities in care, and discusses future directions for research.

Historical Overview

Women’s health care historically focused on concerns of reproductive health and childbearing. Ailments that were not necessarily of reproductive concern were often thought to be due to, or cured through, the reproductive organs. In Plato’s dialogue Timaeus, the womb was described as ...

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