November 13 – Happy Birthday, Dorothea Erxleben!

Posted November 13, 2013

Way back in the first half of the 1700s, Dorothea Erxleben fought for women's rights to attend universities.

It's sad to think that in some places of the world, the struggle for girls and women to have equal access to schools and universities continues. However, we can look on the positive side: in many, many places the world over, the rights Erxleben fought for have been realized!

Erxleben was born in Germany on this date in 1715. Her father taught her medicine while she was still quite young, and in 1742 she wrote a tract arguing that women should be allowed to attend university. She was given special permission to attend the University of Halle by Frederick the Great, and in 1754 Erxleben became the first female medical doctor in Germany.

Nowadays, about one third of the medical doctors in the world are women, and about half of the medical school graduates in the U.S. are now women (up from a third in 1990)—which probably means that 20 years from now about half the practicing doctors will be women.

The tables have turned...

Interestingly enough, there are more women in American colleges now than there are men. Most colleges have something like a 55-45 split in favor of women, but some have more like a 60-40 split, and some have an amazing 70-30 split!

For more than a decade, universities and journalists and others have been scratching their heads trying to think of ways to lure young men into college!

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