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Frontiers Publishing Partnerships | The Women Making Their Mark in Modern Scottish Medical History

Margaret Bulkley (James Barry) and Sophie Jex-Blake. - Scottish medical women

Introduction: Women in medicine and surgery are a recent phenomenon. The aim of this study was to review the modern history of pioneering women in medicine and surgery in Scotland.

Methods: A variety of sources were searched including Google, PubMed, and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh publications to source the material for this paper.

Results: Despite over five centuries of Scottish universities offering medical degrees, women have only had the right to study medicine for 150 years. However, the lives of women pioneers who either circumnavigated or surmounted this inequality, namely, “James Barry” and Sophia Jex-Blake, are briefly told.

Conclusion: Doctors today owe a debt to those who pushed the boundaries, challenged the unfair rules and tackled institutional gender inequality in medicine. Reading about their lives and work is uplifting.


L – Dr. James Barry, c. 1820s. Photo credit: Oneworld Publications. R – Sophie Jex-Blake. Photo credit: Royal Free Hospital.

Continue reading at Frontiers Publishing Partnerships


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