The tributes to women in the month of March are endless as we recognize National Women’s History Month.
There are some remarkable women that paved the path for female pediatricians. Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to attend medical school in the United States in 1847. She paved the path for female doctors to come. She was the first female student from the United States to publish a thesis in the Buffalo Medical Journal in 1849, portraying a strong sense of empathy, sensitivity ot human suffering and strong advocacy for economic and social justice.
One of the first female pediatricians practiced medicine for 74 years and lived to be 114. Leila Denmark was born in 1898 and retired in 2001. She is known for some remarkable achievements including helping to develop a vaccine for whooping cough, writing a renowned book about parenting and claiming second-hand smoke endangered children. She also did not eat sugar, believing it contributed to a number of health problems, including cancer.
Leila is known to have said, “When I was a child, there was no such thing as a baby doctor on earth. We had very little medicine, very little surgery, no immunizations and no baby food,” she told an interviewer. “Yet the children weren’t sick like they are today because their mothers fed them right… Today, 85 per cent of children in the United States are sick all the time. I’m not one to say let’s go back to the past, but there is something to be learned from that.”
Female physicians are still working hard for equal opportunities and equal pay, despite making incredible strides over the last few decades.