Pioneering Women in Medicine

Women have made great strides in the history of medicine.  As a medical student myself, I have been challenged by entrance exams and maintaining a high degree of academic achievement.  But I never really thought about my gender restricting me from my dream to enter the medical profession.   

A recent article about the history of women in medicine helped me really appreciate what the pioneering women in medicine did for me and the other women in medical school right now.  The article highlights the achievements of Elizabeth Blackwell as the first woman accepted into medical school at Geneva Medical College over 150 years ago.  I admire her for her courage to apply to medical school when all the other applicants were male.  By opening the door for all women, including her own sister, she sent the message to society that women belonged in the medical field.  Consequently, this led to the opening of The Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1850, the first of several institutions devoted primarily to the medical education of women.  And in 1857, the Blackwell sisters, along with other pioneering women, founded the New York Infirmary for Women and Children.  

Now, 45.6% of medical school entrants are female in the United States.  It’s good to see that women count for almost half of the medical school entrants; however, it could be better.  I am so grateful that I was born at a time when the opportunity to even apply to medical school was there for me.  And I am forever grateful to Elizabeth Blackwell and all the other pioneering women in medicine that I was even accepted to medical school so that I can achieve my dream of becoming a doctor some day.

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