We must be careful not to let our current appetites steal away
any chance we might have for a future feast. Jim Rohn
"The establishment of medicine as a profession, requiring university
training, made it easy to bar women legally from practice. With few
exceptions, the universities were closed to women (even to upper class
women who could afford them) and licensing laws were established to
prohibit all but university-trained doctors from practice. It was
impossible to enforce licensing laws consistently since there was only a
handful of university-trained doctors compared to a mass of lay healers.
But the laws could be used selectively. Their first target was not the
peasant healer, but the better off, literate woman healer who competed
for the same urban clientele as that of the university-trained doctors.
...In the witch-hunts, the Church explicitly legitimized the doctors'
professionalism, denouncing non-professional healing as equivalent to
heresy: "If a woman dare to cure without having studied she is a witch
and must die." (Of course, there wasn't any way for a woman to study.)
Finally, the witch craze provided a handy excuse for the doctor's
failings in everyday practice: Anything he couldn't cure was obviously
the result of sorcery."
-Witches, Midwives and Nurses: A History of Women Healers
by Barbara Eherenreich and Deidre English