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Women's History Month

In honor of Women's History Month, the County Executive thanked all the women working in Anne Arundel County Government, and our team put together a video to highlight a few of the women making history in our county.

Watch now to learn more about the women leading county government.

 

 

In 1980, Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation in recognition of women’s history; the observance was one week long. In 1987, Congress passed a law authorizing the President to designate the month of March as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, every U.S. president has issued an annual proclamation in the month of March. During women’s history month we honor the countless contributions of women to American history. 

The theme for 2022 is Women: Providing Healing, Promoting Hope. A few years ago, the American Association of Medical College compiled a list of women whose stories we should all endeavor to know. The following are noteworthy “firsts.” 

ELIZABETH BLACKWELL

Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to earn a medical degree in the United States. Blackwell was born in England, and emigrated to Cincinnati, Ohio with her family as a child. Inspired by the death of a female friend, she pursued an education in medicine. She was denied admission to more than 10 medical schools, but eventually enrolled at Geneva Medical College in New York and graduated in 1849. She co-founded the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children to serve the poor, and later founded the Women’s Medical College of the New York Infirmary to educate women pursuing careers in medicine. She eventually returned to England, where she became a professor of gynecology.
  
REBECCA LEE CRUMPLER

Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first black woman to earn a medical degree in the United States.  Crumpler was born in Delaware. Her aunt, who tended extensively to the sick, inspired her to pursue a career in medicine. After working as a nurse for several years, she attended the New England Female Medical College in Boston, Massachusetts. She graduated in 1864, and would be the only black graduate in the school’s history. She spent several years tending to formerly enslaved people in Virginia, to learn about diseases that affected women and children. She returned to Boston, and in 1883, she published “A Book of Medical Discourses: In Two Parts.”
  
SUSAN LAFLESCHE PICOTTE

Susan Laflesche Picotte was the first Native American woman to earn a medical degree in the United States. She was also the first person to receive federal aid for education. Picotte was born on an Omaha reservation in Nebraska. She was inspired to pursue medicine after watching an Indian woman die due to a white doctor’s refusal to provide care. Picotte attended the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, from which she graduated in 1889. She committed her practice to serving Native Americans who were often denied care by white doctors.  
  

These pioneers paved the way for female doctors - improving the quality of care for women of all races and improving health outcomes for men. As of 2020, 36% of the nation’s doctors were women. A 2016 Harvard study found that when patients were treated by female physicians, they were less likely to die or be readmitted to the hospital over a 30-day period.

While female doctors were historically underrepresented, women have long performed paid and unpaid work in the medical profession. Ninety percent of nurses in the United States are women. Nurses provide most of the primary health care (day-to-day care) around the world. This says nothing of the scores of female nurses aides, home attendants, technicians, and caregivers. We join the rest of the country in saluting the commitment of women who devote their professional and personal lives to caring for others.

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