Here is how Anandibai became the first female doctor of India at the age of 19


Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi has served as an inspiration to millions of Indian women who have been motivated to pursue a career in medicine. On National Doctor's Day let us celebrate the legacy of the first woman doctor of India.

On National Doctor’s Day, let us know about first India’s female doctor who has set an inspiration for the generations. 

While we take a moment to applaud the doctors who have been working hard everyday to save our lives, we must equally appreciate those who have served as role models for many others. Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi is a name that should be cherished, respected, and honoured.

Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi was the first woman to practice medicine in India. She is also the first woman from India’s Bombay presidency to study and earn a two-year diploma in western medicine from a foreign country, the USA. Anandibai has a long and illustrious history, inspiring many women in the nation. 

Image: Wikipedia
Anandibai Joshi

Journey That Led Her Pursue Medicine 

Anandibai was born in Maharashtra on March 31, 1865, to a traditional Brahmin family. Her previous name was Yamuna. Her husband, on the other hand, later changed her name to  Anandibai. She was married off at the age of nine to Gopalrao Joshi, who was 25 at the time.

She gave birth to her first child while she was just 14, but soon after ten days she lost her son due to a lack of medical assistance. Anandibai’s life changed forever after this incident, and she planned to take up medical course with the help of her husband. 

Gopalrao, a liberal visionary who advocated for women’s education, enrolled her in a missionary school and then relocated with her to Calcutta, where she learned Sanskrit and English.

Husband’s Support That Led Her Pursue Medicine 

Husbands emphasizing their wives’ education was extremely uncommon in the 1800s. Gopalrao was enamoured with the thought of Anandibai receiving an education and establishing her contribution to the world. 

When Gopalrao strolled into the kitchen one day and discovered Anandibai cooking rather than studying, he became furious. This made her even more dedicated to her studies.

Gopalrao chose to send Anandibai to America to study medicine with Mrs Carpenter, a missionary from Philadelphia.

Also Read: National Doctor’s Day 2021: Netizens thank medical fraternity for their service amid Covid-19 pandemic

Anandibai in America 

Image: Wikipedia
Anandibai Joshee graduated from Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (WMC) in 1886.

Anandibai enrolled in the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania at the age of 19 and graduated with a two-year degree in medicine. Her thesis was titled ‘Obstetrics among the Aryan Hindoos,’ and she received her MD in 1886. 

She used knowledge from Ayurvedic texts as well as American textbooks in her thesis. Queen Victoria sent her a message congratulating her on graduating. 

Anandibai succumbed to tuberculosis at the age of 22 on February 26, 1887, never having had the opportunity to practice medicine.

Legacy That She Passed On

Her life was also the subject of a television series produced by Doordarshan, and her biography was written by American feminist writer Caroline Wells Healey Dall in 1888. 

The Anandibai Joshi Award in Medicine is given by the Institute of Research and Documentation in Social Sciences (IRDS) in Lucknow in recognition of her accomplishments in the progress of medical sciences in India. 

Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi has served as an inspiration to millions of Indian women who have been motivated to pursue a career in medicine.

Her spectacular achievements made India proud and inspired the women of the nation to pursue medicine. 


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