eatingcroutons: black-to-the-bones: Each one of these women has...



Each one of these women has an amazing story to tell, but we know nothing about them. This history is hidden from us, because they are women of color. 

Their names are Dr Anandibai Joshi, class of 1886; Dr Kei Okami, class of 1889; and Dr Sabat Islambooly, class of 1890. 

Dr Joshi was the first Indian woman to earn an MD; her Wikipedia page has the broad details of her life story. She argued that she should go to medical school due to “a growing need for Hindu lady doctors in India”, and was apparently the only student with the stomach to last through a demonstration autopsy of an infant. She died of tuberculosis in 1887, aged just 21 years old, but was such a remarkable figure that her first biography was published in 1888; since then there have been multiple biographies, a novel, a play, and a Hindi serial about her life. Drexel University has quite a few more documents about her in their archives.

Dr Okami was the first Japanese woman to earn a degree in Western medicine from a Western university; she also has a Wikipedia page which gives an overview of her life. Among other things she was appointed to head the gynaecology unit at Jikei Hospital in Tokyo, but resigned after Emperor Meiji visited the hospital and refused to receive her because she was a woman.

Dr Islambooly is the least well-known; her life was mostly undocumented after she returned home to Syria as the country’s first female physician. She was apparently a Kurdish Jewish woman who later moved to Cairo, where she died in 1941.

Here’s an article about their medical school, mentioning some of the other pioneering women who attended it.

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