On February 3, honor the path that female doctors have paved since 1849 as we recognize National Women Physicians Day.

This day marks the birthday of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States in 1849. Dr. Blackwell initiated the movement that helped women gain entry and equality in the field of medicine.

If society will not admit of a woman’s free development, then society must be remodeled. ~ Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell

National Women Physicians Day celebrates the courage of Elizabeth Blackwell and the accomplishments of female physicians everywhere. At the same time, the day strives to bring improvements to the workplace for the growing number of women physicians entering the field of medicine.

While the number of women doctors gradually increased in the last two decades, 2016 statistics show 35% of physicians are women. A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine last year revealed that women doctors earn on average 8% less than their male counterparts. That discrepancy along with nearly a third of women physicians reporting sexual harassment in the workplace and large majority experiencing gender bias. Clearly, there is still work to be done.

National Women Physicians Day recognizes not only the strides that have been made by generations of women doctors but that a balance must be struck that allows women to succeed professionally while balancing family. Join National Women Physicians Day in celebrating these accomplishments and supporting women physicians as colleagues, friends, family and doctors.

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