Mailén Agüero – Business Development Analyst
Francisco Stefano – Director
During the month of March, the struggle of Women to overcome the social inequality attributable to gender is celebrated.
This commemoration gives us the opportunity to analyze and reflect on the evolution of the position of women in the field of Medical Sciences. We will take the Western world as a base without denying the importance of the Arab and Chinese civilizations.
Scholars believe that in prehistoric times, women played a very important role in caring for the health of the social group, whether it was participating in labor and monitoring the health of the newborn as well as in the health of men. Familiarization with herbs and their effects gave them the first “pharmacological” knowledge.
Already in historical times, documentation can be collected that ratifies female performance in the medical/pharmaceutical profession.
The Greek historian Xenophon refers to the existence of a law that established that the woman was responsible for her family’s health care. A few centuries later, the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar established that all women with a medical education could obtain Roman citizenship and were exempt from taxes.
An example of the quality of the work carried out by these women is the case of Metrodora, Egyptian by origin but who developed her activity in Greece (there is some inconsistency in the data of her birth, someplace in the second century of our era while those other authors take it closer dates).
Differentiating herself from other professionals, she expanded her activity beyond attending deliveries and newborns, entering the most diverse pathologies.
Considered the mother of gynecology, her knowledge has endured in the book “On the diseases and cures of women” a copy of it is kept in the Laurentian Library in Florence. It is a long book with 63 chapters. Prolific and orderly, her book is considered the first medical book written in an encyclopedic style and in alphabetical order. Difficult issues are faced with criteria that still retain aptitude today.
Throughout history it is found that those women with medical knowledge were accepted but were not recognized by titles or authority. The first academic titles of Doctor of Medicine or MD were granted by the Salerno Medical School around the 1000s, spreading throughout Europe in the following centuries.
Already in 1800, we observed the existing difficulties in obtaining the medicine’s title. Elizabeth Blackwell was the first Physician in the United States in 1849. In Argentina, Cecilia Grierson (1859 –1934) graduated on July 2, 1889, from the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires, becoming the first Argentine physician.
Women have struggled for centuries to be recognized for their talent and the contribution they can bring to the pharmaceutical industry, and significant progress has been made in the last 100 years. The pharmaceutical industry has a high management commitment to diversity and inclusion. As a result, we have seen an increase in women leaders and those in emerging positions of power in some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.
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