International Women's Day and its importance in the area of health
International Women's Day is celebrated worldwide on March 8th each year, in recognition of women's historical struggle for equality of rights and opportunities in all areas of life.
In the United States, the celebration of International Women's Day began in the early 20th century, when women workers began to unite and fight for better working conditions and civil rights.
In 1908, a group of socialist women celebrated the first National Women's Day in the United States, in honor of the 1908 textile workers' strike in New York, which demanded better wages, working conditions, and political rights.
Then, in 1910, at the Second International Conference of Socialist Women in Copenhagen, German socialist leader Clara Zetkin proposed the creation of International Women's Day as a way to unite the struggle of women around the world and fight for their rights.
Since then, March 8th has been recognized as International Women's Day worldwide and is celebrated with demonstrations, marches, conferences, and events that seek to promote gender equality and women's empowerment.
In the history of the United States, there are many iconic women in the field of health, but today we want to make a special mention of the most outstanding in the field:
- Florence Nightingale: Although born in Italy, Florence Nightingale is internationally recognized as one of the pioneers of modern nursing. During the Crimean War, Nightingale organized and led a team of nurses to treat wounded soldiers, and her pioneering work established standards of hygiene and care that remain important in nursing today.
- Elizabeth Blackwell: In 1849, she became the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States. After graduating, Blackwell founded the Women's Medical College of New York, to allow more women to study medicine.
- Rebecca Lee Crumpler: In 1864, she became the first African American woman to receive a medical degree in the United States. After graduating, Crumpler worked as a physician and nurse during the Civil War and dedicated herself to treating poor black patients after the war.
- Mary Eliza Mahoney: In 1879, she became the first registered African American nurse in the United States. Mahoney worked as a nurse for over 40 years and fought for equal rights and opportunities for black nurses.
- Virginia Apgar: Physician and anesthesiologist who created the Apgar Score, a method for evaluating the health of newborns immediately after birth. The Apgar Score has saved countless newborn lives and remains an important tool in neonatal care.
- Helen Brooke Taussig: Pediatric cardiologist who developed heart surgery for children born with congenital malformations. Her innovations have allowed thousands of children born with heart problems to have a healthier and longer life.
- Susan La Flesche Picotte: Was the first Native American woman to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School in 1889. She worked as a physician on the Omaha Indian Reservation in Nebraska and fought to improve health conditions in indigenous communities throughout the country.
- Gertrude B. Elion: Biochemist and pharmacologist who received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1988 for her discoveries in creating drugs that treat diseases such as leukemia, malaria, and HIV.
- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross: Swiss-American psychiatrist and psychologist who developed a theory on the stages of grief and worked in the care of patients with terminal illnesses. Her work has been very influential in healthcare and in understanding the grieving process.
- Rosalind Franklin: British chemist and X-ray crystallographer who conducted important research on the structure of DNA. Although she did not receive the recognition she deserved in her lifetime, her work was fundamental to the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA.
These dedicated, committed, and persevering women made significant contributions to science and medicine in the country's history, leaving a legacy and inspiring new generations to follow in their footsteps. For example:
- Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett: Viral immunologist who led the team that developed the COVID-19 vaccine at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Her work in creating the vaccine has been instrumental in the fight against the pandemic.
- Dr. Leana Wen: Emergency physician and public health expert who has worked in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. She is an advocate for accessible healthcare and public health, and has been an important voice in the discussion on healthcare in the United States.
- Dr. Rochelle Walensky: Infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist who serves as the director of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She has led the country's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and worked on the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.
- Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha: Pediatrician and epidemiologist who worked to expose the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, which resulted in dangerous levels of lead exposure in the city's drinking water. Her work has led to important policy changes and has inspired many in the fight for environmental justice and public health.
In conclusion, women are important in the field of healthcare because they have tirelessly worked to improve medical care and ensure that the needs of all patients are addressed appropriately and effectively. In addition, they have contributed to medical and scientific innovation, assumed leadership and management roles in hospitals, clinics, and healthcare organizations, and advocated for patient-centered healthcare. They have also worked to ensure that the needs and perspectives of women and other underrepresented groups are considered in research and healthcare.
Thanks to women for bringing diversity and a unique perspective to the world. They are leaders, innovators, caregivers, protectors, and creators, essential in building strong and united communities and integral to the progress and development of society at large. Happy International Women's Day!
United Nations. (n.d.). Antecedentes- día internacional de las mujeres | naciones unidas. United Nations. Retrieved March 6, 2023, from https://www.un.org/es/observances/womens-day/background
González, C. (2022, March 7). Día Internacional de la Mujer en USA: Significado, Origen y por qué se celebra el 8 de marzo. Diario AS. Retrieved March 6, 2023, from https://us.as.com/us/2022/03/07/actualidad/1646689441_720819.html
- Florence Nightingale https://mujeresconciencia.com/2017/08/22/florence-nightingale-mucho-mas-la-dama-la-lampara/
- Elizabeth Blackwell https://mujeresconciencia.com/2020/09/01/elizabeth-blackwell-la-pionera-que-abrio-la-medicina-profesional-a-las-mujeres-en-ee-uu/
- Rebecca Lee Crumpler https://mujeresconciencia.com/2022/07/28/rebecca-lee-crumpler-la-primera-medica-afroamericana/
- Mary Eliza Mahoney https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/mary-mahoney
- Virginia Apgar https://mujeresconciencia.com/2020/09/16/virginia-apgar-la-anestesiologa-que-ha-salvado-la-vida-a-millones-de-neonatos/
- Helen Brooke Taussig https://mujeresconciencia.com/2016/09/09/en-el-corazon-de-los-ninos-helen-taussig-1898-1986/
- Susan La Flesche Picotte https://mujeresconciencia.com/2017/01/06/la-primera-doctora-amerindia-suzanne-la-flesche-picotte-1865-1915/
- Gertrude B. Elion https://mujeresconciencia.com/2014/09/15/gertrude-belle-elion-premio-nobel-en-medicina/
- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross https://mujeresconciencia.com/2016/06/03/ensenando-morir-elisabeth-kubler-ross-1926-2004/
- Rosalindd Franklin https://mujeresconciencia.com/2014/05/09/el-caso-de-rosalind-franklin/
- Dra. Kizzmekia Corbett https://stmichaelcary.org/es/black-history-month-dr-kizzmekia-corbett/
- Dra. Leana Wen https://drleanawen.com/
- Dra. Rochelle Walensky https://www.cdc.gov/spanish/acercacdc/director.html
- Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha https://monahannaattisha.com/
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