Inspired by England: Irish Women in Medicine

England had a major effect on the independence of Irish women as professionals in the late nineteenth century. It was the uproaring of educated women in England that resonated within Irish borders, allowing for some intelligent and powerful women to overcome the obstacle of being treated as second-class citizens by their male counterparts. In the medical field, this reflected greatly with some incredible pioneer women who, studying at the London School of Medicine for Women, made unique breakthroughs in the field.

Dame Anne Louise McIlroy was the first women to become a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the University of London in 1921. While her path was a rocky one at the start, she was lucky to come after other women who had already defied the male-dominated industry. She was not only a published doctor, she also became a lecturer and examiner. During her time, she pushed for anaesthesia during birth, which is something many women can thank her for today. She wasn’t the only Irish female doctor to prove that women deserved to be educated and involved in the medical field. Dr. Eleonora Fleury studied for three months at the London School of Medicine for Women, amongst many of her other studies, and became a successful psychiatrist, the first women to become a member of the Medico Psychological Association in Ireland. She worked in London for a year at the Homerton Fever Hospital, where her work was respected and admired.

The work of these two women, and like them many others, created a path for women in the medical field which was highly inspired by events in England. The relation between both nations has since continued to be strengthened in all disciplines, and today, many of the over 600,000 Irish living in England are doctors. Although today’s NHS rocky path has caused problems for the Irish working in English territory, they continue to thrive and prove that their education is as good as any other.