Kirsi Vainio-Korhonen is Professor of Finnish history, University of Turku, Finland. In her own research, she has gathered strong expertise on economic and gender history, female entrepreneurship and paid work, handicrafts relations, and household economy. Professor Vainio-Korhonen is also an expert on digital humanities issues, which are part of her work as a vice president of the Advisory council of the Finland’s National Archives Service. Her most recent articles are “Women and Professional Ambitions in Northern Europe, c. 1650–1850” (together with Johanna Ilmakunnas and Marjatta Rahikainen) and “Midwives: Birthing Care Professionals in Eighteenth-Century Sweden and Finland” in Early Professional Women in Northern Europe, c. 1650–1850 (Routledge 2017) as well as a monograph in Swedish on the eighteenth-century midwifery De frimodiga: Barnmorskor, födande och kroppslighet på 1700-talet (2016).
In this project Kirsi Vainio-Korhonen focuses on midwives as authorized witnesses in eighteenth-century Finnish courts of justice. Trained midwives were experts in their field, and their expertise was required not only in the delivery room, but also in the courtroom usually in criminal cases. Licenced midwives were required to be literate as they had to be able to read professional literature and, in their capacity as office holders, they had to be able to write and sign certificates given to courts and parishes. Using eighteenth-century court minutes, Vainio-Korhonen will examine how midwives carried out examinations, what kind of written and oral statements they gave to the courts and what these documents tell of both their professional skills and their expertise.