National Women Physicians Day

National Women Physicians Day - Saturday, February 3, 2024

Career Health Work

This is just the fourth National Women Physicians Day, on February 3 . The event celebrates Elisabeth Blackwell’s birthday; she was the first female medical doctor in the U.S. It’s a time to honor women doctors across the country, and the progress they’ve made since Blackwell’s time. Nationally, there are still fewer female doctors than male doctors, but the progress is steady. In 2017, for the first time in history, women made up more than half of all those in medical schools.

National Women Physicians Day timeline


Nigeria's first woman doctor

Nigerian gynecologist Dr. Elizabeth Abimbola Awoliyi was the country's first woman doctor.

Feb. 3, 1921

Elizabeth Blackwell was born

Blackwell, the first female doctor in the U.S., faced medical school rejection letters with statements about her intellectual inferiority.


England's Henry VIII granted the charter for the Company of Barber-Surgeons

It led to healthcare specialization and barred women from practicing professionally.

5 Kick-Butt (Medical) Women Who Should Be Your Heroes

  1. Marie Curie

    Her work on radiation led to medical advances, including cancer treatments.

  2. Florence Nightingale

    She was the first woman to receive the Order of Merit for her work during the Crimean War.

  3. Maria Montessori

    Montessori, the first woman in Italy to get a medical degree, developed the eponymous education system that encourages exploration and hands-on learning.

  4. Rosalind Elsie Franklin

    This British biophysicist's work with x-ray DNA images led to the discovery of DNA's double helix.

  5. Virginia Apgar

    She developed the Apgar score, which measures a newborn baby's health — and was Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons' first female "full" professor.

How to Observe National Women Physicians Day

  1. Thank your physician

    If you see a female doctor, thank her for her work. Make sure she knows you appreciate the time and care she provides.

  2. Post to social media

    Get on Twitter or Facebook and share stories and/or history of women doctors. Use #NationalWomenPhysiciansDay or #WomenPhysiciansDay.

  3. Binge-watch your favorite women doctors

    From Dr. Quinn to Dr. Meredith Grey, TV has given us well-rounded, strong, smart women we can look up to in the medical profession. Grab a bowl of popcorn and take the journey with them.

Why National Women Physicians Day is Important

  1. It brings discrimination in the medical field to light

    Medicine is historically dominated by men. Women in these professions, especially physicians, face challenges and obstacles that make entering the field more difficult. Also, women healthcare providers still earn less than men.

  2. It celebrates women's contributions to the field

    Studies have shown that patients cared for by women doctors have better health outcomes. Also, patient readmittance and mortality rates are both significantly lower within the same hospital.

  3. Women make up a third of the physician workforce

    Male doctors still make up the majority of physicians, but medical schools are about 50/50, with women having a slight edge. In general, the field is seeing more diversity. From 2015 to 2017, black medical students increased by nearly 13 percent, while Hispanic students rose by more than 15 percent.

Also on Sat Feb 3, 2024...

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Condom Week
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