June 9, 2016
Elizabeth Garrett Anderson’s 180th birthday
Born 180 years ago today, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson was the first woman to qualify as a physician and surgeon in Britain. She had a penchant for “firsts,” snagging many more during her illustrious career. She co-founded the first hospital staffed by women, and became the first dean of a British medical school. She even broke barriers across borders as France’s first female doctor.
Her accomplishments were gained through struggle and tenacity. When she was barred from medical school, she studied privately through tutors. Though the system prevented women from obtaining a medical degree, Garrett Anderson found a loophole and passed her medical exam with the highest marks.
As Britain’s first female doctor, Garrett Anderson was a fearless advocate for the care and advancement of women. Today’s doodle memorializes the infrastructure she set up to usher other women into the profession, as well as her devotion to the poor women and children she treated at her clinic.
After a long and successful career, Garrett Anderson broke one more barrier: becoming Britain’s first female mayor in 1908.