Throughout history, women have been denied access to education and the right to practice medicine. Despite the obstacles they faced, many women have managed to break through the barriers and become pioneers in the medical field. From Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in the United States, to Nadezhda Suslova, the first female doctor in Russia, these women have made a lasting impact on the medical world. Elizabeth Blackwell was born in 1821 in Counterslip, Bristol, England.
She was determined to become a doctor despite the fact that women were not allowed to practice medicine at the time. After being rejected by more than 20 medical schools in the United States, she was finally accepted into Geneva College of Medicine in 1849. She graduated with honors and became the first female doctor in the United States. Emily Stowe was Canada's first female doctor. She was denied admission to medical school due to her gender, but she refused to give up on her dream of becoming a doctor.
In 1865, she was finally admitted to the University of Upper Canada in Toronto and became the first woman to hold a position of principal in the Canadian public school system. Andrea Evangelina Rodríguez Perozo was the first woman in the Dominican Republic to earn a medical degree. She graduated from medical school in 1909 and spent her career promoting sex education in schools, advocating for poor mothers and children, and establishing vaccination clinics throughout the Dominican Republic. Despite facing government persecution and police brutality for her activism in the feminist movement, she continued to fight for women's rights until her death in 1947. María Elisa Rivera Díaz and Dr.
Ana Janer were considered the first female doctors in Puerto Rico. Diaz was the first Puerto Rican woman to graduate from Baltimore School of Women's Medicine with highest honors. After graduating from medical school in 1909, both women established successful medical practices in Puerto Rico. Marie Durocher was the first doctor in Brazil. She moved to Brazil with her family from Paris at the age of eight and obtained her medical degree from Rio de Janeiro School of Medicine in 1834. She practiced medicine for more than 60 years and was the only female member of National Academy of Medicine for 50 years. Ana Galvis Hotz was educated at University of Bern in Switzerland and graduated in 1877, making her not only the first doctor in Colombia but also the first doctor in all of Latin America.
She was a pioneer in field of gynecology when she returned to practice in Colombia. Tewhida Ben Sheikh was Tunisia's first female doctor. She earned her medical degree in 1936 and spent her career defending women's medicine, particularly in area of family planning. Ben Sheikh appears on Tunisia's 10-dinar note as a tribute to her achievements. Dorothea Erxleben became Germany's first female doctor when she obtained her medical license in 1754, almost a hundred years before Elizabeth Blackwell became a doctor. Despite facing social stigma for pursuing medicine, she managed to get admitted into University of Halle and earned her degree.
She spent her life encouraging other women to overcome their social status and educate themselves. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson became Britain's first female doctor when she graduated from medical school in 1865. Women weren't allowed to practice medicine at British hospitals so she established New Hospital for Women and Children during cholera outbreak in England and founded London School of Medicine for Women with Sophia Jax-Blake. She also became England's first female mayor when she was elected mayor of Aldeburgh. Nadezhda Suslova graduated from Graz Medical University in 1867, becoming Russia's first female doctor. She specialized in gynecology and pediatrics and practiced at Erismann and St. Towards end of her life, Dr.
Suslova provided free medical care in slums of Alushta. Kadambini Ganguly and Anandibai Joshi were India's first female doctors when they graduated from medical school in 1886 (Dr. Joshi from Pennsylvania School of Women's Medicine; Dr. Ganguly from Bethune College). Joshi married her husband at age of nine and Dr.
Ganguly struggled to raise their eight children along with their homework but both managed to finish medical school with blessing of their husbands. Emily Siedeburg was New Zealand's first female doctor when she graduated from medical school in 1896. Unlike many women of her time, men in her life encouraged Emily Siedeburg to become a doctor; her father supported her career especially. After graduating from medical school, she served as Medical Superintendent at St. Helens Hospital for more than 30 years. Miranda Stewart posed as man to practice medicine in UK while Elizabeth Blackwell was repeatedly rejected by more than 20 medical schools due to her gender; however, she didn't give up on her dream of becoming a doctor and eventually got admitted into Geneva College of Medicine when students voted to allow her entry (although they probably thought she would never succeed).Jennie Smillie Robertson was Canada's first registered surgeon when she graduated from University of Toronto School of Medicine in 1909; however no Canadian internships or residencies were offered to women so she completed her residency at Philadelphia Women's Medical College instead. These pioneering women doctors have changed history by breaking through barriers that were once thought impossible for women to overcome. They have paved way for future generations of women who are now able to pursue their dreams without fear or prejudice.