At Cache Valley Women’s Center, we honor all women, not just those who pioneered fields such as art, technology, writing, and medicine. Today, on International Women’s Day, we wanted to highlight Cecilia Grierson, the first woman to receive a medical degree in Argentina.
Cecilia Grierson was a physician, activist, author, inventor, reformer and, most notably, the first woman to receive a medical degree in Argentina.
In 19th-century Argentina, medical school was off-limits to women—in fact, very few women enrolled in secondary education of any kind. Grierson’s perseverance earned her a degree, and the struggles she faced fueled her work as a human rights activist. As vice president of the International Council of Women, a suffragist organization, she fought tirelessly for social causes like welfare benefits, maternity leave for working women, and the end of the slave trade. As a physician, she furthered studies in gynecology and kinesiology, and was the first to suggest medical service vehicles have alarm bells (what we now know as the ambulance). She also founded the first nursing school in Argentina, at the Hospital Británico de Buenos Aires.