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Celebrate women in March

Every March is Women’s History Month. It’s a time to celebrate women and honor the contributions they have given to our culture, society, and history. It took many years from the first Women’s History Week in 1978 in California to become a month-long celebration proclaimed by each President. This formally took place beginning in 1995.

It was a much longer process for women to make their mark and have a presence in the healthcare field. Some women even went so far as to impersonate men just to be able to practice medicine.

Below we celebrate two women that were pioneers in their field but also pioneering women, breaking down barriers.

Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth Blackwell lived from February 3, 1821 – May 31, 1910. She was a British physician and was the first women to receive an MD (medical degree) in the United States. In addition, she was the first woman on the Medical Register of the General Medical Council. Elizabeth was first a schoolteacher but after a friend became very ill, she was adamant that her friend would have received better care from a female doctor, and then began applying to medical schools. She was denied admission from every school she applied to because she was a female, except Geneva Medical College (now known as Norton College of Medicine).

Elizabeth had a lasting impact in her community; from founding the New York Infirmary for Women and Children, to organizing nurses in the American Civil War. Her contributions are celebrated annually with the Elizabeth Blackwell Medal. This is given to a woman who has made a significant contribution to the promotion of women in medicine.

Margaret Floy Washburn

Margaret Floy Washburn was the first woman to receive a doctoral degree in American psychology in 1894. It wasn’t without a challenge though. After graduating from Vassar in 1891, she wanted to attend Columbia University, but it wasn’t permissible for women to participate in graduate programs. However, she sat in on the classes as an observer and later went on to work with experimental psychologist E.B. Titchener.

She spent many years teaching and then became a Professor of Psychology in 1908. Margaret continued until in 1937, when she had a stroke that forced her into retirement.

Margaret passionately contributed a lot to her field and wrote more than one hundred scholarly articles on topics from animal behavior and psychology to memory and spatial reasoning. One of her famous quotes says a lot: “Nothing in the world is so compelling to the emotions as the mind of another human being.”

There are many women that have and continue to pioneer in a variety of fields. We celebrate women and their achievements now, during Women’s History Month and every day.

Triggers related to history

Sometimes when you educate yourself on emotionally charged, historical events, it can cause triggers or anxiety. It’s important to be aware of this and take a break if needed. However, if you find you want to seek help to process the heightened emotions, we can provide that for you.

There are mental health professionals here to work with you every step of the way and online support groups. Learn more about our mental health programs.

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