Equality and Diversity

Sophia Jex-Blake

Successfully campaigned to secure women access to a University education.

Sophia Jex-Blake
Sophia Jex-Blake

Sophia Louisa Jex-Blake was born in Hastings in 1840. She attended various private schools before enrolling at Queen's College, London. In 1859, while still a student, she accepted a post as mathematics tutor at the College.

In 1869, she became determined to study medicine at the University of Edinburgh, though its doors were still closed to women. After a bitter struggle, which divided the faculty and ended with Jex-Blake suing the University unsuccessfully in the Court of Session, she moved to Berne to qualify.

In 1889, however, largely as a result of her struggles, an Act of Parliament sanctioned degrees for women. She was one of the first female doctors in the UK. A leading campaigner for medical education for women, she was later involved in founding two medical schools for women: one in London (at a time when no other medical schools were training women) and one in Edinburgh, where she also started a women's hospital.

Sophia and and six other women, collectively known as the Edinburgh Seven began studying medicine at the University of Edinburgh in 1869. She was the first practising female doctor in Scotland, and one of the first in the wider United Kingdom and Great Britain, and Ireland.

 

See also Edinburgh Seven

Related Articles:

http://www.ed.ac.uk/about/people/plaques/jex-blake

http://www.ed.ac.uk/medicine-vet-medicine/about/history/historic-alumni/sophia-jex-blake

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophia_Jex-Blake