Dr Elizabeth Garrett Anderson. Who was she and why was she important?

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Dr Elizabeth Garrett Anderson. Who was she and why was she important?

Article 18/31 for women’s international month: Dr Elizabeth Garrett Anderson

1836. A girl was born that broke the glass ceiling of women practicing medicine in England.

Elizabeth was one of 12 children to parents who expected the young child to study to be an attractive wife, as was “right” for a woman of her time.

A portrait of Garrett in the 1860s

She changed her destiny after meeting with feminists like Emily Davis and talking to the first American female physicist:Elizabeth Blackwell. It was after this meeting on 1860 the young Elizabeth wanted to go into medication to open the door for other women to join. Surprisingly, her father supported his daughter’s ambitions!

Her journey to be recognised as a physican is one of personal endurance and stubbornness:

1860: Joined as a surgery did first operation after proving her skill at the Middlesex hospital after 6 months.

1861: leaves Middlesex hospital after male students complains. Does obtain honours certificate in chemistry!

1861-62: applied and rejected to multiple medical schools including Oxford and Cambridge.

1865- FOUND A LOOPHOLE AND PASSED EXAM TO BECOME A DOCTOR FROM THE SOCIETY OF APOTHECARIES! The Society of Apothecaries did not specifically forbid women from doing the exam. They did after Elizabeth not only passed it, but got the highest grades as well.

Garrett Anderson circa 1889 Getty images.

1866: Elizabeth established St Mary dispensary for women with the help of her father as no hospital would hire her!

1870: She went to France to get her medical degree after learning French to do so.

She also was finally appointed to a medical post working in East London Hospital for Children as a visiting physican!

1872: Elizabeth dispensary was the New Hospital for Women in London…hiring only women and also staffed by the woman who inspired her: fellow Elizabeth Blackwell

1874: Ms Anderson founded the?London School of Medicine for Women, the only teaching hospital in Britain at the time to train women!

1876-an act was passed permitting women to enter the medical profession – due to Elizabeth’s campaigns and voice!

1883, Elizabeth was finally appointed dean of the London School of Medicine for Women!

Can you imagine the dedication of Elizabeth and her sheer bullheadedness to do her goals?

Can you imagine how many nos she shrugged off and used as motivation?

Not only did she prove herself as a capable physican, not only did she help other women achieve their dreams, she even changed the fate of her own daughter…Louisa Anderson also became a pioneering doctor of medicine and feminist activist!

Louisa Anderson, daughter of the first woman Doctor in Britain.
Photographer unknown

Oh, and Elizabeth is also in the history books for one other thing:

In 1908, she became the mayor of the town, the first female mayor in England!

Pretty impressive for a woman who was educated to be a pretty housewife! Instead she fought to change her fate and helped change the lives of women for the better!

Blue plague: from London Remembers page

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