The occupational, class, and sex structure of the United States health labor force is similar to the competitive sector of the economy (i.e., it is predominantly female, poorly paid and poorly unionized). Upper-middle-class men compose the great majority of medical professionals, whereas lower-middle and working-class women form the greatest proportion of all middle-level, clerical and service workers. This division of labor is due to the role of women both in the family and as a reserve of labor for the economy. There is a virtual absence of the majority of producers —lower-middle-class and working-class women — in the decision-making bodies of the health institutions. The political strategy for change is to introduce institutional democracy in the health sector, with control of the institutions by those who work in them — the majority of whom are women — and those who are served by them. (N Engl J Med 292:398–402, 1975), IN the growing bibliography on sexism in the United States, a large number of references have documented the nature and extent of sexism in the health sector, with primary focus on the problems faced by professional women.* However, not only the condition of some women —the professionals — but that of all women as producers of services in the health sector require analysis. The objectives of this article, then, are to describe the situation of women as producers in the health labor force within the context of the overall labor force in the United States, to give my own interpretations….
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