Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors?

women doctorsFor Mother’s Day this weekend, I wanted to share a powerful picture book that empowers young girls to set high goals for themselves.

My daughter and I took out this book, Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell by Tanya Stone the other day at the library. After a couple of pages, I immediately loved the book because of its powerful message. Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? can not only teach our children a piece of history but also emphasizes the concept of never giving up and reaching for the stars even when it seems impossible.

In the 1830’s when Elizabeth Blackwell was growing up, “Girls were supposed to be wives and mothers. Or maybe teachers or seamstresses”.  Elizabeth didn’t always know she wanted to be a doctor until she took care of her friend Mary Donaldson. Mary was very ill and told Elizabeth that she would prefer being seen by a women, versus a man for her medical care. She urged Elizabeth to consider becoming a doctor. She thought and thought about it until she decided to take the risk. She got rejected from all medical schools except Geneva Medical School in upstate NY.

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She decided to attend this medical school but did not have many supporters. “The townspeople were expecting her. As she walked down the street, some pointed and stared. They whispered to themselves that she must be wicked-or crazy. Elizabeth thought that at least the students wanted her there. Except they didn’t”. Elizabeth proved them wrong but finishing top of her class. She still struggled to find work after graduating but eventually opened up a hospital just for women and children called The New York Infirmary for Women and Children. She also opened a medical school just for women called the Women’s Medical College of the New York Infirmary. For more information on Elizabeth Blackwell, click here.

Are you a teacher? Check out this teachers guide with ideas for activities, discussion questions and how to use this book with the Common Core Curriculum.

Do you want to learn more about Tanya Lee Stone? Check out my interview with Tanya here!


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