Light into Dark Places
We have rediscovered the importance of public health and, as ever, have been made to realise the important lessons that history has to teach us – how in the politics of public health, wealth and power shape ideas and action. Lee Adams, a former public health practitioner in the city, has drawn inspiration from first hand challenges in overcoming barriers to public health, and from her forebears: women pioneers of public health.
Women like Florence Greenwood, who in 1902 argued that women being in work was not of itself a cause of infant mortality – what was needed was education for women. She was not afraid to ruffle feathers on the Council to press for better conditions claiming they were: “very much behind the times on matters of sanitation and housing and that many thought that the Council were not pushing things as they ought.”
Or women like Gertrude Franks who served the city for over 30 years and who spoke of “a numberless army whose occupations are wrapped in disreputable misery almost beyond redemption” and who argued that the gulf between rich and poor had to be bridged so that the poor had the same life chances as the rich.
This is their story. We salute them.