Women Pioneers in Medicine

Women have always struggled to find opportunity in STEM fields. Despite that, many women have still managed to make their mark in fields like medicine. Starting as nurses and caregivers, women moved on to studying and obtaining degrees in medicine. Many reports claim that from 2700 BC onwards women occasionally worked as doctors. In the modern era however, there have been a few remarkable women who changed medicine forever. As a part of the Women’s History month, SheThePeople.TV introduces you a few of the earliest women pioneers in medicine.


Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman doctor in the United States who decided to take up medicine as her chosen profession after her dying friend told her the troubles she faced as a patient. She supported medical education for women and by establishing the New York Infirmary in 1857. She also published books on this issue. A few of them being Medicine as a Profession For Women in 1860 and Address on the Medical Education of Women in 1864.


Dr. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson changed the lives of many women in England. After meeting Dr.Elizabeth Blackwell, Anderson decided to pursue medicine but was rejected multiple times as women were banned from practicing medicine. Not only did Dr.Anderson become the first woman doctor in the country, she openly campaigned for the cause as a result of which, an act was passed in 1876 permitting women to enter the medical profession


Dr. Virginia Apgar, was the first woman to become a full professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She designed the first standardized method for evaluating the newborn’s transition to life outside the womb, called the Apgar Score. First working as an anesthesiologist, Dr.Apgar later earned a master’s degree in public and then worked towards the prevention of birth defects through public education and fundraising for research.


[Featured Picture Courtesy: The Lead]

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