A reason to remember Tain in North East Scotland is Dr Elizabeth Ross. She wasn’t born there, as her banker father worked in London at the time of her birth, but the family came from the Ross- shire town, and returned after his death. But except for a small plaque in Tain’s St Duthus Church she is almost forgotten. Interestingly this is NOT the case in Serbia. Each year she is commemorated in a ceremony attended by Serbian high ranking dignitaries and many thousands of people. It is a huge celebration. Continue reading Dr Elizabeth Ross
This piece first appeared on the University of Birmingham’s Research and Cultural Collections Blog and is re-posted with their kind permission.
Dame Hilda Lloyd was a pioneer in many senses. After becoming the first female professor at the University of Birmingham in 1944, she rose to become the first President of any Royal Medical College: the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in 1949. One of her many accomplishments was introducing the use of obstetrical ‘flying squads’ in Birmingham, which saved the lives of countless mothers and babies. Continue reading Dame Hilda Lloyd and the Birmingham Flying Squads
Isabella Stenhouse served as a doctor during the First World War, but is that enough to make her a Shero? In fact, what makes any ordinary girl into a Shero? Joseph Campbell analysed hero stories from around the world. He found that they followed a remarkably constant pattern that he called The Hero’s Journey. If Isabella’s journey matched Campbell’s model, would she qualify as a Shero? Continue reading Dr Isabella Stenhouse’s Sheroic Journey
Susan La Flesche Picotte was an Omaha Indian who became the first Native American physician and spent her life caring and campaigning for her people.
Susan was born on 17th June 1865 on the Omaha reservation in Nebraska. Both her parents were mixed race and her father, Iron Eyes (Joseph La Flesche), was the chief of their tribe. It was a time of much change and upheaval for Native Americans, and her father tried to manage this by encouraging people, including Susan and her three sisters, to adapt and become educated in the ways of the white world around them. Continue reading Susan La Flesche Picotte
“In Scotland they made her a Doctor, In Serbia we would have made her a Saint.” – Serbian saying.
Elsie Inglis was born in Naini Tal, India to Scottish parents. Her father was employed by the East India Company and the family returned to Edinburgh in 1878 when Elsie was 14. Elsie’s parents believed, unusual for this time, that both boys and girls should have equal access to education and were supportive of Elsie’s decision to study medicine. Women won the right to obtain medical degrees in 1876 and when the Edinburgh School of Medicine for Women was opened in 1886 Elsie decided to study there, graduating in 1892. Continue reading Dr Elsie Inglis
Ecuador was the first Latin American state to enfranchise women, in 1929. The pioneer who symbolised women’s striving for emancipation in a cruelly conservative society was Mathilde Hidalgo de Procel.
She was born Mathilde Hidalgo in Loja, Ecuador in 1889 in a family of six children. Her father died when she was young and her mother was obliged to work as a seamstress to keep the family. Mathilde attended a convent school, and she was an academic child but her education was soon to stop as senior schools were reserved for boys in Ecuador.
Karolina Widerström, born in 1856, enjoyed a long and productive career not only as a physician but also as a politician and a champion of women’s rights. Her father, a physiotherapist, encouraged his daughter to follow in his footsteps, which she did. However, Widerström soon realised that she wanted to go into medicine.
Women were given the right to obtain an academic degree in Sweden in 1873, and Widerström began her medical studies in Uppsala in 1879. She received a licentiate degree in medicine from the Karolinska Institute in 1888.