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The Gender of MemoryRural Women and China's Collective Past$
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Gail Hershatter

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520267701

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520267701.001.0001

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(p.154) 6 Midwife
The Gender of Memory

Gail Hershatter

University of California Press

This chapter examines the Party-state campaign for safe, hygienic midwifery practices and the constantly refigured, actively circulating set of stories about the dangerous nature of childbirth in China. It evaluates the impact of the training of new-style village midwives and the retraining of old-style midwives across rural China on maternal and infant mortality rates. It suggests that even after the 1950s, the skilled village midwife who delivered babies at home remained a respected figure, sanctioned by political authorities and relied upon by childbearing women.

Keywords:   midwifery practices, China, Party-state campaign, village midwives, maternal mortality, infant mortality

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