National Women Physicians Day Date in the current year: February 3, 2024

National Women Physicians Day National Women Physicians Day is celebrated annually on February 3 to recognize all female doctors and highlight the specific obstacles they face while building a career in medicine. The date of the holiday was chosen to commemorate the birthday of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree in the US.

Elizabeth Blackwell was born on February 3, 1821 in Bristol, England. When she was just a year old, her family emigrated to the United States. Blackwell’s father died when she was 17, and Elizabeth worked a number of teaching jobs to support herself and her siblings.

Blackwell became interested in pursuing a career in medicine when her friend got sick and remarked that she would be more comfortable if a female doctor cared for her. She applied to numerous medical schools but was rejected by all but one. 150 male students of Geneva Medical College in New York State voted for her acceptance; there was a stipulation that Blackwell would be turned down if just one student voted against her acceptance, but she received unanimous support. In 1847, Blackwell became the first female medical student in the United States.

After a year and a half of studies, Blackwell presented her graduation thesis on typhoid fever and became the first woman in the United States to receive a medical degree on January 23, 1849. Several months later, she went to Europe to continue her studies. Blackwell was rejected by quite a few European hospitals due to prejudice and eventually returned to the United States in 1851 to establish her own practice.

Blackwell is best remembered for co-founding the New York Infirmary for Women and Children with her sister Emily, advocating for girls’ education, and organizing nurses during the American Civil War. She led an active life until 1907, when she fell down the stairs and was left disabled. Three years later, Blackwell died of stroke.

Although female physicians these days don’t encounter as much prejudice as they used to, they still face discrimination even in developed countries. This is why we need a holiday that highlights the accomplishments of women physicians and raises awareness of gender discrimination in medicine and healthcare.

National Women Physicians Day was founded in 2016 by Physician Moms Group and Medelita, and celebrated for the first time on February 3, 2016. Its main goal is to highlight the role of female physicians in medicine and healthcare, and bring together women physicians to share their medical expertise with each other and collaborate.

How can you celebrate National Women Physicians Day? If you yourself are a female physician, you can share your story online with the hashtags #NationalWomenPhysiciansDay, #NWPD, #IAmBlackwell and #WomenDocsInspire to encourage young women across the country to pursue a medical career if they’ve been thinking about it.

Another way to observe the holiday is to support the female physicians you know. You can reach out to them with words of encouragement and gratitude, learn more about famous women physicians and share the information you’ve learned with the world, donate to an organization that supports and advocates for female physicians, or even binge-watch your favorite TV show about a female physician.

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National Women Physicians Day, professional observances, observances in the United States, Elizabeth Blackwell