I hate to admit this, but I sometimes find myself taking the rights that I enjoy for granted. In this day and age, the idea that a woman would be denied something simply because of her gender is unthinkable . . . and would likely result in a handful of lawsuits and an outraged nation. Less than a century ago, equality was still being debated. As I enjoy a life full of opportunity, I feel that it’s important to be reminded of the female leaders that came before me.
One such woman is Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree from an American school. In the 1800s, the idea of a woman in the field of medicine was unheard of, but Elizabeth B. applied to almost every medical school in New York and Philadelphia, and was rejected by nearly all of them.
When her application arrived at Geneva Medical College, the administration (believing that no one would dream of saying yes) asked the students to decide whether to admit her or not. The students reportedly thought it was a practical joke and the majority endorsed her admission. When they discovered that she was serious, everyone was horrified. At first, she was even kept from classroom medical demonstrations, as they were considered inappropriate for a woman. But in 1849, Elizabeth B. graduated first in her class, becoming the first U.S. female doctor of medicine.
She went on to live an extraordinary life, writing books and lecturing in America and throughout Europe. During the Civil War, she helped to organize the Women's Central Association of Relief, selecting and training nurses for service in the war. This venture helped to inspire the creation of the United States Sanitary Commission, and her achievements didn’t end there. Working tirelessly throughout her life, Elizabeth Blackwell opened the New York Infirmary for Women and Children and the Women's Medical College in New York, helped to organize the National Health Society in England, and founded the London School of Medicine for Women.
Elizabeth Blackwell's efforts established a foundation for women in the field of medicine, and Medelita is proud to honor her. The 28" length Elizabeth B. lab coat is named after Elizabeth Blackwell, and boasts performance features that make sense to women working in medicine. Similar to our original Callia lab coat in design features, the new hip-length Elizabeth B. tailored lab coat features feminine shaping and rounded lapels, a hidden inside pocket, and Medelita logo fabric covering the inside seams. We call it revolutionary. Learn more about the Elizabeth B. Medelita Lab Coat.