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Laura Forster

Laura Elizabeth Forster (1858–1917) was an Australian medical doctor, surgeon, and nurse who served in various countries during World War I. After obtaining her medical degree from the University of Bern in Switzerland, she settled in England and became a prominent physician in Oxford. Forster’s research on ovarian diseases in mentally ill women and her collaboration with renowned neurohistologist Dr. Santiago Ramón y Cajal in Spain contributed greatly to the field of medicine. Her dedication and contributions made her a respected figure in the medical community, leaving a lasting impact on the field.

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Edna Adan Ismail

Edna Adan Ismail, born in 1937 in Hargeisa, British Somaliland, is a prominent figure in Somali society known for her tireless efforts in nursing, midwifery, activism, and politics. Raised in a family that prioritized education and healthcare, she became the first qualified nurse-midwife from Somaliland and the first Somali girl to study in Britain. Ismail’s work in promoting women’s rights, fighting against female genital mutilation, and establishing the Edna Adan Maternity Hospital has had a profound impact on Somali society and earned her numerous accolades, including the UN Person of the Year and Women’s Creativity in Rural Life Prize.

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Grace Pepe Malemo Haleck

Grace Pepe Malemo Haleck (1894–1987) was American Samoa’s first trained nurse, receiving her training in the US. Despite her petite stature, she traveled alone across the mountain tracks of American Samoa, delivering babies and treating diseases. Haleck’s dedication and skills led her to become the Chief Nurse in American Samoa and she continued to promote nursing throughout her life.

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Mary J. Safford

Mary Jane Safford-Blake was a nurse, physician, educator, and humanitarian who made significant contributions to the field of medicine and women’s rights. Her dedication to serving others was evident during her time as a relief worker during the Civil War, where she gained the nickname “Cairo Angel.” Safford’s impact extended beyond her medical practice, as she also advocated for women’s rights and improved educational opportunities for women and girls. Her innovative vision for cooperative housekeeping aimed to alleviate the burden of housekeeping for women. Mary Jane Safford’s work challenged societal norms and left an indelible mark on history.

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Esther Arditi

Esther Arditi (1937 – 2003), also known as “The Angel in White,” was an Israeli IDF medic, and the only woman to be awarded the Israeli Medal of Distinguished Service. She fearlessly saved lives during her remarkable career, displaying extraordinary heroism and selflessness. Arditi’s dedication to serving others and breaking gender barriers made her a trailblazer in the Israeli military, leaving a lasting impact on women’s history.

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Cori Bush

Cori Anika Bush, a nurse, pastor, and Black Lives Matter activist, was born on July 21, 1976, in St. Louis, Missouri. She has made a significant impact on her community and the nation as a whole, serving as a U.S. representative for Missouri’s 1st congressional district. Bush’s journey towards political leadership began with her early education and was influenced by her politically active family. She has become a powerful force for change and representation, advocating for social justice and equality.

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Katharine Gatty

Katharine Gatty was a nurse, journalist, lecturer, and militant suffragette. She played a significant role in the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) and received the Hunger Strike Medal from them after going on a hunger strike in prison. Her contributions to the suffrage movement, as well as her later adventures in California and Australia, make her a notable figure in women’s history.

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Laura Ormiston Chant

Laura Ormiston Chant, an English social reformer, women’s rights activist, and writer, dedicated herself to creating a more just and equitable society. Her commitment to nursing, social reform, and writing, along with her advocacy for women’s rights, left a lasting impact. Chant’s legacy continues to inspire and empower women today.

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Lillian May Armfield

Lillian May Armfield, a pioneering Sydney female police detective, fearlessly confronted the dark underbelly of Sydney’s criminal underworld for over thirty years. Despite facing discrimination and unequal treatment, she advocated for the rights of female victims and made a significant impact in breaking barriers for women in law enforcement. Her dedication and unwavering commitment to her role as a police professional make her an exceptional figure in women’s history.

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Zinaida Tusnolobova-Marchenko

Zinaida Tusnolobova-Marchenko, born in 1920 in Polotsk, Belarus, grew up in a rural setting with a humble upbringing. Motivated by a strong determination to contribute to the war effort, she joined the Red Army during World War II and worked as a medic in the 849th Rifle Regiment. Despite sustaining serious injuries and enduring a brutal attack, Tusnolobova-Marchenko’s resilience and unwavering commitment earned her the esteemed title of Hero of the Soviet Union and further recognition for her exceptional devotion and service in the field of nursing. Her story is a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

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Ecaterina Teodoroiu

Ecaterina Teodoroiu, a Romanian woman who fought in World War I, is celebrated as a national hero. She initially worked as a nurse but decided to become a frontline soldier due to the patriotism she witnessed. Despite facing initial reluctance, she received support from the royal family and eventually became a symbol of courage and determination.

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Margaret Chung

Margaret Jessie Chung, born in 1889 in Santa Barbara, California, overcame financial hardships to become a trailblazer in education and medicine. Despite facing discrimination and challenges, she graduated from the University of Southern California and went on to become one of the first Chinese-American women to earn a medical degree. Dr. Margaret Chung’s dedication to healthcare equality and women’s empowerment continues to inspire generations.

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Thora Knudsen

Thora Alvilda Knudsen was a Danish nurse, women’s rights activist, and philanthropist. She had a successful nursing career at Frederiks Hospital in Copenhagen and was even granted the position of head nurse of operations after just nine months of training. Knudsen was also a vocal advocate for women’s suffrage and actively supported the Nurses’ Organization. Her dedication to improving healthcare, advancing women’s rights, and serving those in need continues to inspire and shape society.

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Biddy Mason

Biddy Mason, an African-American nurse and real estate entrepreneur, overcame the challenges of slavery to become a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist. Her expertise in medicine, child care, and livestock care made her a valuable asset to her owners. After gaining her freedom, Biddy’s entrepreneurial spirit led her to invest in real estate, becoming a successful landowner. She used her resources to help those in need, leaving behind a legacy of strength and compassion.

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Margaret E. Bailey

Margaret E. Bailey (1915-2014) defied the odds and pursued her dream of becoming a nurse despite growing up in one of the most segregated areas of the South. She broke several barriers as a black nurse in the US military, becoming the first black lieutenant colonel in 1964, the first black chief nurse in a mixed, non-segregated unit in 1966, and the first black full colonel in 1967. Her dedication to promoting diversity and equality had a lasting impact.

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Rebecca Lee Crumpler

Rebecca Lee Crumpler, born Rebecca Davis, overcame racial and gender barriers to become the first African-American woman to earn a Doctor of Medicine degree in the United States. She published her seminal work, “A Book of Medical Discourses,” and dedicated her career to providing medical care to marginalized communities. Her pioneering achievements paved the way for future generations of African-American women in medicine.

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Mattiedna Johnson

Mattiedna Johnson, an African American nurse and laboratory technician, played a crucial role in finding a cure for the scarlet fever epidemic during World War II. Despite not receiving credit for her work, she dedicated her career to healthcare and co-founded the National Black Nurses Association. Her impact extended to Africa, where she served as a medical missionary and advocated for nursing education and professional growth.

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Hazel Johnson-Brown

Hazel Johnson-Brown, the first Black female general in the United States Army and the first Black chief of the United States Army Nurse Corps, dedicated her life to nursing and serving her country. Overcoming discrimination, she rose through the ranks and made history with her promotion to brigadier general in 1979. Her legacy as a trailblazer and advocate for equality continues to inspire generations.

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Susie King Taylor

Susie King Taylor, the first Black nurse during the American Civil War, was also the first Black woman to self-publish her memoirs. Her work as a nurse for the 1st South Carolina Volunteer Infantry Regiment and her dedication to education for formerly enslaved Black people in the postbellum South left a lasting impact. She is remembered as a trailblazer and a crucial figure in women’s history.

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Marie Marvingt

Marie Marvingt was a remarkable French athlete, mountaineer, aviator, and journalist who made significant contributions in various fields during her lifetime. Known for her relentless pursuit of excellence, Marvingt achieved great success and broke down barriers in multiple sports and professions.

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Harriet Boyd Hawes

Harriet Ann Boyd Hawes was a pioneering American archaeologist, nurse, relief worker, and professor. She made significant contributions to archaeology, particularly in gender equality and women’s involvement in the field. Harriet Boyd Hawes was the discoverer and first director of Gournia, one of the first archaeological excavations to uncover a Minoan settlement and palace on the Aegean island of Crete.

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Andrée Borrel

Andrée Raymonde Borrel, also known as Denise, was a French resistance fighter and agent for Britain’s clandestine Special Operations Executive (SOE) during World War II. Her courageous work as a courier for the Prosper network played a vital role in supporting the resistance movement and combating the Nazi occupation. Tragically, she was arrested by the Gestapo and eventually executed in 1944.

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Nancy Wake

Nancy Grace Augusta Wake, AC, GM was a courageous nurse and journalist who joined the French Resistance during World War II. Her remarkable efforts as a member of the resistance earned her the nickname “The White Mouse” for her ability to elude capture by the Gestapo. Wake’s dedication and bravery continue to inspire women around the world.

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Irena Sendler

Irena Stanisława Sendler, a Polish humanitarian and nurse, bravely rescued Jewish children during the Holocaust. In the face of danger, she smuggled children out of the Warsaw Ghetto, provided them with new identities, and found them shelter. Her unwavering courage and compassion saved countless lives and left a lasting impact on history.

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