I just finished a philosophy of nursing class so pardon me if I get too philosophical. One of the texts for the course was about the history of nursing and while I'm sure I've read some of this before, it was really fascinating to read again. The history of nursing is very similar to the history of the role of women in modern society because nursing is a predominantly female profession.
In Victorian times, women were not educated because the prevailing thought (by men, of course) was that the neurological system competed for development with the reproductive system so women were too delicate to be educated; their brains and their ovaries could not both be developed at the same time and, naturally, reproduction took precedence.
Hmmm....I'm thinking about the nurses I work with and "delicate" is not one of the words that comes to mind when I consider how to describe them. Smart, strong, quick, loud, opinionated, headstrong, determined, and funny, yes. Delicate? Not so much.