Women at QM Logo
Thematic History
Women at Queen Mary Online: a virtual exhibition
Montage of QM Women
In this section:     The woman physician  

> Thematic History

> 1850-1901:
Education for Women

- Victorian Ideals

- Woman Physician
- Ladies College

> 1902-1913:
Education & Vocation

- Learning at ELC
- The Westfield Way

> 1914-1945:
War & Circumstance

- The Great War
- WWII Evacuation
- Learning & Leisure

> 1946-1959:
Peace & Acceptance

- Restoration
- Medicine & Dentistry

> 1960-present:
Change & Opportunity

- Women in Science
- Creativity & Diversity
- Then & Now


Elizabeth Blackwell, c1880.
Elizabeth Blackwell, c1880.
Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, c1865.
Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, c1865.
Courtesy of Royal London Hospital Archives.

Women faced a great struggle to study medicine in the 1850s.

The 1858 Medical Registration Act did not say women couldn’t train to be doctors, but London’s medical schools and their students actively tried to prevent women from training.

The profession was already overcrowded, and it was argued that women were too intellectually and physically inferior to train as doctors.

A few women pioneers made great efforts to break into the medical profession. Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910) was the first qualified woman doctor to be listed on the Medical Register in 1859. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (1836-1917) qualified and was listed on the Medical Register in 1866.

The efforts of these women in the face of prejudice proved successful, and they paved the way for future women doctors. They also promoted the idea of medical care for women by women.

Blackwell dedicated her life to promoting the medical education of women, writing and giving numerous lectures around the world.

She also worked with other women, including Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, to establish medical study for women and promoting medical treatment for women by women.

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson was also acquainted with campaigners for Women's Suffrage.

Detail of “An Incident in Connection with the Presentation of the
First Women’s Suffrage Petition to Parliament in 1866”
The original oil painting was created by Bertha Newcombe in 1910.
Courtesy of Mary Evans/The Women’ s Library.

The painting above depicts the presentation of the first suffrage petition by Emily Davies and Elizabeth Garrett Anderson to John Stuart Mill in Westminster Hall. Mill was a supporter of women’s suffrage, and used the petition in parliament to move for the amendment of the 1832 Reform Act, which restricted women’s right to vote. Parliament rejected the petition, but campaigners for women’s suffrage continued their fight. More...


<< previous
Explore the Thematic History
QMUL Logo © Queen Mary, University of London 2008 | Your privacy | Acknowledgments