“In Unwell Women, the British scholar Elinor Cleghorn makes the insidious impact of gender bias on women’s health starkly and appallingly explicit…. It’s impossible to read Unwell Women without grief, frustration and a growing sense of righteous anger.”


Unwell Women: A Journey through Medicine and Myth in a Man Made World by Elinor Cleghorn is a concise account of how myth, misinformation and misdiagnosis of women’s health issues has persisted to the current day where the understanding and treatment of unwell women still leaves much to be desired in far too many instances.

Moving from ancient Greece and Rome through the Middle Ages, the Victorian Era and right up to the current day the author examines how the same ideas , often without any scientific basis, held sway for centuries until they could finally be proven to be wrong. The author does an exceptional job of clearly explaining the history and the science so that the book flows well and the reader never feels bogged down in dates or details.

The case studies she utilises are sometimes heart breaking, and often frustrating as we see women being mistreated, used as human guinea pigs for surgical experimentation , or dismissed and discredited when they are struggling with complex auto immune conditions. As someone who works in healthcare, I cannot say that I was shocked by what I read , but I am hopeful that things are changing, albeit slowly.
I read and reviewed an ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the Publisher, all opinions are my own.


Reviewed by:

Annette Jordan

Added 4th August 2021

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Annette Jordan