Feminists have often criticized nursing for lack of commitment to women's movements. This article addresses the contradictions and conflicts in the relationship of feminism and nursing from a historical perspective. Different feminist epistemologies, those of enlightened liberal, cultural, and radical feminism, are examined historically and their relevance to nursing is discussed. A reflexive theory, proposed by Harding, is used to conceptualize the differing responses, feminist and nonfeminist, of women and nurses, as alternative reactions to the many types of patriarchy they have encountered.
(C) 1990 Aspen Publishers, Inc.