Exploring the Challenges of Incorporating Holistic Midwifery into the University Midwifery Education Structure in Ontario and British Columbia

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Crewe, Carolina
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Mount Saint Vincent University
The development of University Midwifery Education Programs (UMEPs) has been a key component of the midwifery professionalization process in Ontario and British Columbia. The choice to develop UMEPs has set a standard for professional midwifery training which it is anticipated subsequently legislated provinces in Canada will follow. The goal of this study is to highlight the gendered struggles of midwifery, as a female- dominated and historically marginalized occupational group, in its attempt to integrate into preexisting hierarchies of the university structure. This analysis has suggested that other similarly located marginalized groups attempting integration into a university structure are likely to experience similar exclusionary strategies related to factors including gender, sexuality, ethnicity and race. Evident from this study are specific challenges of this process including tensions around inter-professional collaboration and faculty sharing with dominant disciplines such as Health Sciences and/or Medicine, enculturation of masculine/feminine professional characteristics, struggles to value practicum learning components, visibility/obscurity within the university, struggles for achieving diversity in the student/client population, gendered dimensions of earnings potential and labour mobility. Recommendations from the findings of this study encourage future education design committees to take into consideration the economic, cultural, material and ideological barriers and challenges facing women in the context of practice as the predominant applicants, professionals and clients for this profession.
University Midwifery Education Programs (UMEPs) , Gendered Struggles , Marginalized Groups , Ideological Barriers