Using a feminist perspective, this paper explores the roots of the practice of healing and medicine. It traces the role of women in health care from prehistorical times, through the present, and into the future discussing the changing paradigms that the author identifies as (a) the Prototypic Paradigm: Mysticism and Healing; (b) the Scientific Paradigm: Curing; and (c) the Paradigm of Inclusion: Caring, Curing, and Healing. The role and status of women in society are reflected within these paradigms, and the changing status of the profession of occupational therapy is discussed within this framework. The unique skills and contributions of occupational therapy more closely fit within the Paradigm of Inclusion and can support us as health care leaders within the changing world of the 21st century.

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