Ohio Female Medical Education Society

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The Ohio Female Medical Education Society was one of the first organizations in Ohio to encourage women to join the medical profession.

Throughout most of the nineteenth century, it was very difficult for a woman to train to be a medical doctor. Most Americans believed that women were not suited to be doctors. The common belief at the time was that women were too frail physically to handle the demands of the medical profession and that they might have mental breakdowns if they faced too much stress. Many male physicians also feared additional competition and financial loss if women became doctors. As a result of these factors, medical schools would usually not admit women.

Located in Cleveland, the Ohio Female Medical Education Society was formed in 1852 to provide financial resources for women who wanted to train as doctors. The organization also supported the dean of the Western Reserve Colleges medical program, John Delamater, who for a short time made the program coeducational. The college granted six women medical degrees in the 1850s before its faculty decided not to admit women any longer.

Although the Ohio Female Medical Education Society had limited success, it provided some of the earliest support for women who wanted to challenge traditional expectations for women.

See Also


  1. Walsh, Mary Roth. Doctors Wanted, No Women Need Apply: Sexual Barriers in the Medical Profession, 1835-1975. N.p.: Yale University Press, 1979.