Monday Morning Magic, March 28, 2022: We finish up International Women’s Month with a medical alert for women everywhere — check out this groundbreaking book by journalist Olivia Campbell: Women in White Coats: How the First Women Doctors Changed the World of Medicine.
Not only is Olivia our Truly Amazing Women of the Month in the March 2022 issue of Inkandescent Women magazine: She was also featured this month in an article I penned for the March issue of the Costco Connection Book of the Month. I have been writing for this monthly magazine since 1996 and am delighted that my editor Stephanie Ponder has introduced me to so many truly amazing authors.
Here’s why “Women in White Coats” is such a treasure: Fans of the books Hidden Figures and Radium Girls will appreciate this remarkable story of three Victorian-era women — Elizabeth Blackwell, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, and Sophia Jex-Blake — who broke down barriers in the medical field to become the first women doctors in the early to mid-1800s. At the time, women were dying in large numbers from treatable diseases because they avoided receiving medical care. The problem: Examinations performed by male doctors were often demeaning and even painful. In addition, women faced stigma from illness, as many diagnoses could significantly limit their ability to find husbands, jobs, or be received in polite society. Motivated by personal loss and frustration, and despite countless obstacles, these women earned medical degrees and paved the way for other women to do the same. Click here to watch our video interview with Olivia and learn more about Women in White Coats.
About Olivia Campbell: “I started writing as a young girl — mysteries fashioned after Nancy Drew,” explains Olivia, noting that her passion for ballet as a teenager initially led her to train to become a professional dancer. A broken foot prompted her pivot to journalism. And an unplanned pregnancy, complicated birth, and postpartum depression turned her writing interest in college from the arts to medicine. Today, Olivia is an independent journalist, essayist, and author focusing on the intersections of medicine, women, history, and nature. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, New York Magazine, HISTORY, The Washington Post, The Guardian, SELF, Scientific American, Smithsonian Magazine, among others. She holds a master’s degree in nonfiction science writing from Johns Hopkins University and an undergraduate degree in journalism from Virginia Commonwealth University. Olivia lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her husband, three sons, and two beloved cats. Learn more at ocampbellwriter.com.
We leave you with this powerful parting thought from chapter 1 — The Lady Doctor: “Mary Donaldson was dying of advanced uterine cancer. She confided to her neighbor, Elizabeth Blackwell, then 24: ‘The worst part of my illness is that I am being treated by a rough unfeeling man. If I could have been treated by a lady doctor, my worst sufferings would have been spared me. You are fond of study. Why not study medicine?”
Until next Monday, I hope you are inspired by the women who truly see and love you. Now, go follow your dreams! — Hope Katz Gibbs, Inkandescent™ Inc.