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Society – Kadambini Ganguly

Society

Kadambini Ganguly 1861 – 3 October 1923

Image from Wikpedia

Kadambini Ganguly was one of the first female graduates of the British Empire and the first female physician of South Asia to be trained in European medicine.

Early life
The daughter of Brahmo reformer Braja Kishore Basu, she was born at Bhagalpur, Bihar in British India. The family was from Chandsi, in Barisal which is now in Bangladesh. Her father was headmaster of Bhagalpur School. He and Abhay Charan Mallick started the movement for women’s emancipation at Bhagalpur, establishing the women’s organisation Bhagalpur Mahila Samiti in 1863, the first in India.

Kadambini started her education at Banga Mahila Vidyalaya and while at Bethune School (established by Bethune) in 1878 became the first woman to pass the University of Calcutta entrance examination. It was partly in recognition of her efforts that Bethune College first introduced FA (First Arts), and then graduation courses in 1883. She and Chandramukhi Basu became the first graduates from Bethune College, and in the process became the first female graduate in the country and in the entire British Empire.

Medical education and profession
Ganguly studied medicine at the Calcutta Medical College. In 1886, she was awarded a GBMC (Graduate of Bengal Medical College) degree, which gave her the right to practise. She thus became
the first Indian woman doctor qualified to practice western medicine. Abala Bose passed entrance in 1881 but was refused admission to the medical college and went to Madras (now Chennai) to study medicine but never graduated.

Kadambini overcame some opposition from the teaching staff, and orthodox sections of society. She went to the United Kingdom in 1892 and returned to India after qualifying as LRCP (Edinburgh), LRCS (Glasgow), and GFPS (Dublin). After working for a short period in Lady Dufferin Hospital, she started her own private practice.

Social activities
In 1883 she married the Brahmo reformer and leader of women’s emancipation Dwarka Nath Ganguly. They were actively involved in female emancipation and social movements to improve work conditions of female coal miners in eastern India.
She was one of the six female delegates to the fifth session of the Indian National Congress in 1889, and even organized the Women’s Conference in Calcutta in 1906 in the aftermath of the partition of Bengal. In 1908, she had also organized and presided over a Calcutta meeting for expressing sympathy with Satyagraha – inspired Indian laborers in Transvaal, South Africa. She formed an association to collect money with the help of fundraisers to assist the workers. In 1914 she presided over the meeting of the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, which was held in Calcutta to honour Mahatma Gandhi during his Calcutta visit.

 The noted American historian David Kopf has written:

Ganguli’s wife, Kadambini, was appropriately enough the most accomplished and liberated Brahmo woman of her time. From all accounts, their relationship was most unusual in being founded on mutual love, sensitivity and intelligence… Mrs. Ganguli’s case was hardly typical even among the more emancipated Brahmo and Christian women in contemporary Bengali society. Her ability to rise above circumstances and to realize her potential as a human being made her a prize attraction to Sadharan Brahmos dedicated ideologically to the liberation of Bengal’s women.”

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Footsteps

Footsteps - image created by Maggie Baldry

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All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the authors.  Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information contained in this work neither the author, contributors, employees or advisers are able to accept any legal liability for any consequential loss or damage, however caused, arising as a result of any actions taken on the basis of the information contained in this work. All third-party brands and trademarks belong to their respective owners.  Please note this notice is to protect the source research material. Please feel free to link and quote with references back to this page. Thank you. Copyright : Maggie Baldry

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2011 in History, Soft Footsteps

 

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Education – Dr. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson

Education

Footsteps

Footsteps - image created by Maggie Baldry

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson   9 June 1836 – 17 December 1917

Dr. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, LSA, MD, was an English physician and feminist, the first woman to gain a medical qualification in Britain. Elizabeth was the daughter of Newson Garrett, of Aldeburgh, Suffolk, where she was born in 1836. Elizabeth was educated at home and at a private school. In 1860 she resolved to study medicine, an almost unheard-of thing for a woman at that time, and regarded by some as almost indecent.

Having obtained some more or less irregular instruction at the Middlesex Hospital, London, she was refused admission as a full student both there and at many other medical schools to which she applied. Finally she studied anatomy privately at the London Hospital, and with some of the professors at the University of St Andrews, and at the Edinburgh Extra-Mural school.

She had no less difficulty in gaining a qualifying diploma to practise medicine. London University, the Royal Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons, and many other examining bodies refused to admit her to their examinations; but in the end the Society of Apothecaries allowed her to enter for the Licence of Apothecaries’ Hall, which she obtained in 1865. This entitled her to have her name entered on the medical register, the second woman after Elizabeth Blackwell, and the first woman qualified in Britain to do so. Elizabeth Blackwell, originally born in Bristol, England, was the first female doctor in the United States and was also a women’s rights activist.

In 1866, Elizabeth Garrett was appointed general medical attendant to St Mary’s Dispensary, a London institution started to enable poor women

Dr. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson

to obtain medical help from qualified practitioners of their own sex. The dispensary soon developed into the New Hospital for Women, and there Dr Garrett worked for over twenty years. In 1870 she obtained the University of Paris degree of MD, three months after Frances Hoggan obtained that qualification. The same year she was elected to the first London School Board, at the head of the poll for Marylebone, and was also made one of the visiting physicians of the East London Hospital for Children; but the duties of these two positions she found to be incompatible with her principal work, and she soon resigned them.

In 1871 she married James George Skelton Anderson of the Orient Steamship Company, but she did not give up her practice. She had three children, Louisa, Margaret who died of meningitis, and Alan. Louisa also became a pioneering doctor of medicine and a social campaigner.

In 1873 she gained membership of the British Medical Association and remained the only woman member for 19 years, due to the Association’s vote against the admission of further women.

From 1874, Elizabeth worked steadily at the development of the New Hospital, and at the creation of the London School of Medicine for Women. Both institutions have since been handsomely and suitably housed and equipped, the New hospital in the Euston Road being worked entirely by medical women, and the schools in Hunter Street, WC1 having over 200 students, most of them preparing for the medical degree of London University (the present-day University College London), which was opened to women in 1877. In 1897 Dr Garrett Anderson was elected president of the East Anglian branch of the British Medical Association.

On 9 November 1908 she was elected mayor of Aldeburgh, the first female mayor in England.

The movement for the admission of women to the medical profession, of which Dr Anderson was the indefatigable pioneer in England, extended in her lifetime to all of North America and Europe. She died in 1917 and is buried in Aldeburgh.

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The next series of historical stories will cover ladies who were pioneers in the Entertainment industry.

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Legal Bit
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the authors.  Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information contained in this work neither the author, contributors, employees or advisers are able to accept any legal liability for any consequential loss or damage, however caused, arising as a result of any actions taken on the basis of the information contained in this work. All third-party brands and trademarks belong to their respective owners.  Copyright : Maggie Baldry

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2011 in History, Soft Footsteps

 

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