Elinor Cleghorn: ‘Every single woman I know, when I said I was writing this book, had their own story’

The English historian’s new book details the many ways in which women have been failed by the medical profession down the years

13th June, 2021
Elinor Cleghorn: ‘Every single woman I know, when I said I was writing this book, had their own story’
Elinor Cleghorn: ’It’s not a book that argues that western modern medicine is something that sets out to damage and harm women.’ Picture: Lara Downie

In 2002, writer and cultural historian Elinor Cleghorn began getting pains in her legs. “Gout,” proclaimed her GP, guessing that the swelling in her ankles must have arisen because she liked a drink (gout, as Cleghorn puts it, is “one of those old-timey diseases caused by too much cheese and booze”). Naturally enough, this wasn’t what ailed her.

For years, the aches didn’t let up. Doctors could see nothing wrong...

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