Truth or dare: women, politics, and the symphysiotomy scandal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Abstract

In 2016, a Redress Scheme was launched in Ireland to compensate women who had undergone the procedure of symphysiotomy in childbirth in the decades between 1940 and 1990. The scheme was the culmination of an exhaustive process that had seen two failed attempts at an independent report, the fracture of the main patient representative group, constant lobbying of Dail Eireann, and a widespread media campaign that crafted a David-and-Goliath narrative for public consumption. Inevitably, the reality was somewhat different. Throughout the process, emphasis was placed upon the importance of women's voices and the primary testimony of those who had undergone the procedure. Yet, for one of the survivor groups, only certain kinds of voices were permitted, those who adapted their histories to the narrative that refused complexity or subtlety. This essay examines the manner in which a variety of women's voices were crafted, amplified, and silenced in the service of a specific agenda. It also interrogates the role of the media in driving that narrative and raises the vexed question of how voices are heard, or silenced, in the age of social media.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGeoHumanities and Health
EditorsSarah Atkinson, Rachel Hunt
PublisherSpringer
Pages175-190
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783030214067
ISBN (Print)9783030214050
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameGlobal Perspectives on Health Geography
PublisherSpringer

Fingerprint

Scandal
Women's Voices
Social Media
Testimony
Ireland
Agenda
Lobbying
Childbirth
History
Survivors

Keywords

  • Symphysiotomy
  • Ireland
  • Obstetrics
  • Medical Practice

Cite this

Walsh, O. (2020). Truth or dare: women, politics, and the symphysiotomy scandal. In S. Atkinson, & R. Hunt (Eds.), GeoHumanities and Health (pp. 175-190). (Global Perspectives on Health Geography). Springer.
Walsh, Oonagh. / Truth or dare: women, politics, and the symphysiotomy scandal. GeoHumanities and Health. editor / Sarah Atkinson ; Rachel Hunt. Springer, 2020. pp. 175-190 (Global Perspectives on Health Geography).
@inbook{5d884c81059142e891a6cf0df653ef42,
title = "Truth or dare: women, politics, and the symphysiotomy scandal",
abstract = "In 2016, a Redress Scheme was launched in Ireland to compensate women who had undergone the procedure of symphysiotomy in childbirth in the decades between 1940 and 1990. The scheme was the culmination of an exhaustive process that had seen two failed attempts at an independent report, the fracture of the main patient representative group, constant lobbying of Dail Eireann, and a widespread media campaign that crafted a David-and-Goliath narrative for public consumption. Inevitably, the reality was somewhat different. Throughout the process, emphasis was placed upon the importance of women's voices and the primary testimony of those who had undergone the procedure. Yet, for one of the survivor groups, only certain kinds of voices were permitted, those who adapted their histories to the narrative that refused complexity or subtlety. This essay examines the manner in which a variety of women's voices were crafted, amplified, and silenced in the service of a specific agenda. It also interrogates the role of the media in driving that narrative and raises the vexed question of how voices are heard, or silenced, in the age of social media.",
keywords = "Symphysiotomy, Ireland, Obstetrics, Medical Practice",
author = "Oonagh Walsh",
year = "2020",
language = "English",
isbn = "9783030214050",
series = "Global Perspectives on Health Geography",
publisher = "Springer",
pages = "175--190",
editor = "Atkinson, {Sarah } and Rachel Hunt",
booktitle = "GeoHumanities and Health",

}

Walsh, O 2020, Truth or dare: women, politics, and the symphysiotomy scandal. in S Atkinson & R Hunt (eds), GeoHumanities and Health. Global Perspectives on Health Geography, Springer, pp. 175-190.

Truth or dare: women, politics, and the symphysiotomy scandal. / Walsh, Oonagh.

GeoHumanities and Health. ed. / Sarah Atkinson; Rachel Hunt. Springer, 2020. p. 175-190 (Global Perspectives on Health Geography).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

TY - CHAP

T1 - Truth or dare: women, politics, and the symphysiotomy scandal

AU - Walsh, Oonagh

PY - 2020

Y1 - 2020

N2 - In 2016, a Redress Scheme was launched in Ireland to compensate women who had undergone the procedure of symphysiotomy in childbirth in the decades between 1940 and 1990. The scheme was the culmination of an exhaustive process that had seen two failed attempts at an independent report, the fracture of the main patient representative group, constant lobbying of Dail Eireann, and a widespread media campaign that crafted a David-and-Goliath narrative for public consumption. Inevitably, the reality was somewhat different. Throughout the process, emphasis was placed upon the importance of women's voices and the primary testimony of those who had undergone the procedure. Yet, for one of the survivor groups, only certain kinds of voices were permitted, those who adapted their histories to the narrative that refused complexity or subtlety. This essay examines the manner in which a variety of women's voices were crafted, amplified, and silenced in the service of a specific agenda. It also interrogates the role of the media in driving that narrative and raises the vexed question of how voices are heard, or silenced, in the age of social media.

AB - In 2016, a Redress Scheme was launched in Ireland to compensate women who had undergone the procedure of symphysiotomy in childbirth in the decades between 1940 and 1990. The scheme was the culmination of an exhaustive process that had seen two failed attempts at an independent report, the fracture of the main patient representative group, constant lobbying of Dail Eireann, and a widespread media campaign that crafted a David-and-Goliath narrative for public consumption. Inevitably, the reality was somewhat different. Throughout the process, emphasis was placed upon the importance of women's voices and the primary testimony of those who had undergone the procedure. Yet, for one of the survivor groups, only certain kinds of voices were permitted, those who adapted their histories to the narrative that refused complexity or subtlety. This essay examines the manner in which a variety of women's voices were crafted, amplified, and silenced in the service of a specific agenda. It also interrogates the role of the media in driving that narrative and raises the vexed question of how voices are heard, or silenced, in the age of social media.

KW - Symphysiotomy

KW - Ireland

KW - Obstetrics

KW - Medical Practice

UR - https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030214050

M3 - Chapter (peer-reviewed)

SN - 9783030214050

T3 - Global Perspectives on Health Geography

SP - 175

EP - 190

BT - GeoHumanities and Health

A2 - Atkinson, Sarah

A2 - Hunt, Rachel

PB - Springer

ER -

Walsh O. Truth or dare: women, politics, and the symphysiotomy scandal. In Atkinson S, Hunt R, editors, GeoHumanities and Health. Springer. 2020. p. 175-190. (Global Perspectives on Health Geography).