Debates surrounding women's admission to the medical profession

Laura Kelly

in Irish Women in Medicine, c. 1880s-1920s

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780719088353
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9781781704622 | DOI:
Debates surrounding women's admission to the medical profession

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This chapter examines the arguments for and against women in medicine that proliferated in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Opponents of women in medicine argued that women were eminently unfit to be doctors because of their physical, mental and emotional make-up. Those in favour of women in the medical profession claimed that there was a great need for women doctors to tend to female patients and to work in the missionary field. This chapter also argues that Ireland possessed a generally liberal attitude towards women in higher education which determined its attitude towards women in the medical profession.

Keywords: Women in medicine; Missionaries; Sophia Jex-Blake; Medical profession

Chapter.  6388 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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