History of Women in Medicine

  • 2700 BCE


    Merit-Ptah was the royal court's chief physician during the Early Dynastic Period in Egypt. She is an early physician in ancient Egypt.
  • Period: 2700 BCE to 400 BCE

    Ancient Times

  • 2500 BCE


    She is known as "Lady Overseer of Female Physicians." Been cited as the first female doctor known by name. Pesehet is referred to inscriptions as the 'King's Associate,' which suggests she was the personal physician of the monarch. She is associated with training of medicine.
  • 400 BCE


    Agnodice wished to become a physician in Athens, Greece, but was forbidden. She moved to Alexandria, Egypt were women were allowed to participate in medical profession.She returned back to Athens to practice but disguised as a man. She later got caught and faces death penalty but got rescued by her female patients. Agnodice changes the law to let woman practice medicine.
  • 200 BCE


    Metrodora was a Greek physician. She is an author of the oldest medical book to be written by women. The book is called "On the Diseases and Cures of Woman." First female medical writer influenced by Hippocrates.
  • 69 BCE

    Queen Cleopatra VII

    Queen Cleopatra VII
    Cleopatra wrote a book about medical profession. The book is called "Cosmetics." The book includes medical and pharmacological work and remedies for hair loss and dandruff.
  • Period: 400 to 1400

    Middle Ages

  • 1098

    Abbess Hildegard of Bingen

    Abbess Hildegard of Bingen
    Abbess wrote advice on both physical and psychological health advice. Her writings demonstrate knowledge of herbs and medicine
  • 1101

    Dame Trotula

    Dame Trotula
    Dame was a very a known midwife. She enjoyed her fame in Salerno due to her accomplishments in the medical community. Dame wrote "De Passion mulierum" which proves knowledge of her medical experience and some experience in surgery.
  • 1101

    Nursing Roles

    Nursing Roles
    Nursing was appealed mostly to women. When patients enter hospitals they provide in-patient care. Others chose to do wet-nurse the newborn. Also, they care for the sick in homes and for children in orphanages.
  • 1300

    Inside the Home

    Inside the Home
    The wife, mother, lady of the house were the responsible for any medical treatment in the home, in the farms and manorial households. The owner's wife was not responsible for medical care for her family but her servants and dependents as well.
  • 1326

    Alessandra Giliani

    Alessandra Giliani
    Alessandra was an Italian scientist. She is known as the first woman to record documents in practicing anatomy and physiology.
  • Period: 1400 to


  • 1430


    Midwifes are woman who cared for the sick. Assisted woman in given birth. Midwifes usually came from lower class families. They had a lack of training. Midwifes had knowledge in herbal remedies. They sometimes performed medical functions.
  • 1500

    Clarice di Durisio

    Clarice di Durisio
    Clarice was an Italian physician and surgeon. She only treated female patients. She specialized in the diseases of eyes.
  • 1554

    Tan Yunxian

    Tan Yunxian
    Yunxian was a Chinese physician during the Ming Dynasty. She specialized with women and was the first Chinese to take gynecology and obstetrics seriously. Yunxain ignored rules against women publishing and releasing a book about her medical practice.
  • Caterina Vitale

    Caterina Vitale
    Caterina was the first female pharmacist and chemist in Malta. She provided medicines to the Sacra Infermeria. Also, first female pharmacist of the Knights Hospitaller.
  • Jane Sharp

    Jane Sharp
    Jane was a midwife in the 1600's. She wrote a book about midwifes. The book was produce for manuals to midwifes.
  • Anna Morandi Manzolini

    Anna Morandi Manzolini
    Anna started studying in anatomy. She introduces innovations into dissection techniques to portray discrete components of the body. Worked with both written and third dimensional models . Gave dissection and anatomy lessons to medical students.
  • Period: to

    Industrial Revolution

  • Martha Ballard

    Martha Ballard
    Martha was a midwife and a healer. She always kept a diary with her. In her diary, she recorded her administering medicines and remedies
  • Maria Petraccini

    Maria Petraccini
    Maria was an Italian anatomist, physician, and physician of anatomy. She was tutored in surgery by her husband Maria and her daughter Zaffira Feretti were teachers in anatomy in the University of Ferrara. Maria also published books about the care of infants and women in childbirth.
  • Marie LaChappelle

    Marie LaChappelle
    Marie was a french obstetrician introduced many innovations to the management of childbirth, especially in the cases of difficult labor. She attended thousands of births and produced a massive three volume book of her observations.
  • Maria Dalle Donne

    Maria Dalle Donne
    Maria was an Italian physician and a director of the University of Bologna. She was the first women doctorate in medicine.
  • Period: to

    Modern Era

  • Elizabeth Blackwell

    Elizabeth Blackwell
    Elizabeth was the very first woman doctor in the United States. She graduated from New York's Geneva Medical College in January 1849. Elizabeth co-founded the New York Infirmary for Women and Children.
  • Sarah Adamson

    Sarah Adamson
    Sarah was the first woman physician to complete a hospital internship. She was the founder of one of the first general women's medical societies
  • Florence Nightingale

    Florence Nightingale
    Florence a trailblazing figure in nursing who greatly affected 19th and 20th century polices around proper care. She is known for her night rounds to aid the wounded during the Crimson War. Establishing her the image as the "Lady with the Lamp."
  • Rebecca Lee Crumpler

    Rebecca Lee Crumpler
    Rebecca was the first African-American Doctor. Earned her medical degree in Boston University in 1864. Rebecca cared for freed slaves who did not have access to medical care.
  • Mary Edwards Walker

    Mary Edwards Walker
    Mary was among the first wave of women to earn a MD degree in the United States. She was the first female surgeon and first female surgeon in the U.S. army.
  • Ann Preston

    Ann Preston
    Ann was a teacher who worked to educate women about their own bodies. First female dean of a U.S. based medical school. Dedicated her career to take care of patients and the provision of opportunities for women to study medicine.
  • Clara Barton

    Clara Barton
    Clara worked her life as a nurse andrisked her life to bring supplies and support soldiers in the field during the Civil War, She found the American Red Cross in 1881, at age 60.
  • Virginia Apgar

    Virginia Apgar
    Virginia in known for developing a standardized system to evaluate health of babies when born.This system was called The Apgar Score. Developed in 1952. First woman to earn title of full professor at the college of Physicians and Surgeons.
  • Nancy Dickey

    Nancy Dickey
    Nancy was elected president of the American Medical Association in 1997, first women to hold the esteemed role. She developed the Patient's Bill of Rights and "reshape[d] America's medical care" according to the Texas Women's Hall of Fame.
  • Michelle Obama

    Michelle Obama
    Michelle launched the healthy living initiative "Let's Move" in 2010 a true fitness inspiration. Michelle actively worked to ensure today's children to grow up more active and with healthier food.