From the granny midwives to those working today towards closing the racial gap in the maternal mortality death rate, Black women have been at forefront of gynecology since the beginning... though they often go unrecognized for their many contributions.
Birth work as we know it today is often whitewashed and marketed as a luxury for the affluent. However, we know that birth work and doula care have deep roots in underserved communities and communities of color around the world. These presumptions that doula support is only available to the most privileged amongst us can be reversed, in part, by white birth workers educating their white peers and communities about the contributions of Black women in the fields of gynecology, birth work and doula care. It is our responsibility as birth workers in 2022 to share this rich history and the cultural impact it's had on our communities. We honor the women who came before us and who are leading the charge today when we share their stories. We can also help heal these misconceptions by uplifting and amplifying the voices and experiences of the Black women in our field.
Below are just a few of the many resources available to learn more about the history and impact of Black women in gynecology and birth work:
*Adding a CW that many of these stories include violence against Black women. So read and share with care.
Killing the Black Body by Dorothy Roberts
Medical Bondage by Deirdre Cooper Owens
Birthing Justice by Julia Chinyere Oparah & Alicia D. Bonaparte
The "Father of Modern Gynecology"
4 Transformative Black Women and Their Contributions to Gynecology and Reproductive Health