At the beginning of March, countries around the world united to celebrate International Women’s Day. From politicians to everyday people, the focus was on championing women and working towards a more gender-balanced future.
I recently had the privilege of being an expert speaker with Thermavein at the Aesthetics Conference and Exhibition 2019. Among the more than 2,000 delegates who gathered in London were many amazing ladies (and yes, men too!) who are fantastic at what they do. Years ago the world was very different for women wanting careers though, especially in science and medicine. However, some stand out in history as setting the standard in their time and for those that followed. In one way they all had a part in starting the state-of-the-art treatments available today.
Let’s celebrate the ladies that launched.
One of these ladies has to be Grace Hopper. ‘Amazing Grace’ was an American computer programmer who’s long career began when computers were the size of a room. As World War II started she joined the male-dominated US Navy and programmed the first functional computer. As well as coining the phrase ‘debugging’, she also developed COBOL, the original accessible computer language.
A lot relies on computers today, including cosmetic research, treatment delivery and this blog – Grace’s amazing work enabled so much!
Cleanliness and hygiene are also crucial in clinics today, for which we have Florence Nightingale to thank. During the Crimean War, she made the link between sanitary conditions and healing success after seeing so many die in dirty hospitals. As a woman telling a world of military men they were wrong she had a problem though. Happily Florence was a brilliant statistician and used cold, hard numbers to convince them.
Caroline Jobst may be a less familiar name, but in a way she also advanced cosmetic treatments. In the 1950s her husband created the compression stocking and after his death, she ensured it became a best-seller. As head of the Jobst company, Caroline oversaw development and deals on nearly every continent. Think of her next time you fly or have microsclerotherapy.
Finally, credit to Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, the first English female doctor who paved the way for many practitioners to come. She had to fight her male peers constantly to be accepted and eventually learned French so she could qualify in Paris. Back in the UK, Dr Anderson then had to start her own hospital to be allowed to practice.
As well as having an effect on science, medicine and treatments, these ladies empowered women of the time and women since to see they can achieve great things. It is important to remember we are all valuable (men included!) with the right to stand as individuals, follow dreams, feel good and look good.
If for you, part of this means going for a job, joining a team or getting a treatment, then please do. Whether you have to fight for something or not, you are worth it!