How far we’ve come

I just went to see my new primary care physician—who happens to be a woman. In addition, my gynecologist, my dermatologist and my cardiologist are all females.

Today most of us don’t think much about the gender of our doctors.

That wasn’t true in 1849 when Elizabeth Blackwell, the first American woman to become a doctor, was granted a medical degree, says David McCullough in his book The Greater Journey—Americans in Paris.

A physician writing in the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, McCullough reports, declared that women were “not constituted” for the profession because of their “nervous or excitable” temperament.

“Let woman not assume the prerogatives of man by entering the arena and noisy business of life, for which she has not the faculties in common with man,” the physician said.

We have made some progress!


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