Medicine: Second Oldest Profession

Into Rome's grandiose Palazzo dei Congressi one day last week poured 1,400 purposeful women from 41 nations. Blonde-tressed Norwegians in embroidered blue skirts mingled with black-haired Ghanaians in flowing brown and gold robes. Swiss Frauen sported delicate lace caps, and Icelanders regally balanced gold diadems with trailing white veils. Here and there through the colorful throng could be seen the somber black habit of a nun. Remarkably little feminine chatter disturbed the solemnity of the occasion: the twelfth International Congress of Midwives.

Reduced Role. Midwifery may be the world's second oldest ' profession, once ranked among its most respected. Plato made no...

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