Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Biography
(Mayor of Aldeburgh)
Birthday: June 9, 1836 (Gemini)
Born In: Whitechapel
Elizabeth Garrett Anderson was a 19th century English physician, the first woman to qualify as a physician and surgeon in Britain. She lived in an era where it was not common for women to receive formal education and they were dissuaded from pursuing a career of their own. A brave and courageous lady, she was a feminist to the core and struggled hard to obtain a medical education in order to become a physician. Born into prosperous family, Elizabeth was expected to marry young and become a homemaker. But a meeting with Elizabeth Blackwell, the first American woman physician, inspired her to become a doctor herself. Fortunately, her parents were supportive of her ambitions and encouraged her to follow her heart. However, women becoming doctors was totally unheard of in 19th century Britain and she faced a lot of challenges in acquiring a quality medical education. She bravely persevered and was eventually successful in becoming a physician after a long struggle. After becoming the first female physician in Britain, she went on to found the New Hospital for Women in London and was later appointed dean of the London School of Medicine for Women which she had helped to found. She was an icon for other aspiring women doctors and also a strong supporter of the women’s suffrage movement.