As we lead up to the release of Battling in All Her Finery, we’re featuring a handful of women in science from history. Check back in the coming weeks to learn more about early women scientific leaders, and check out Battling in All Her Finery when it releases on October 16!
The first named woman physician dates back to the Ancient Egyptians. Merit-Ptah (which means “beloved of Ptah”) lived around 2700 BCE, toward the end of the Early Dynastic Period. She is named in records as a “Chief Physician,” which meant she would have been the physician to the King, and she also was responsible for instructing other physicians. While there were other women physicians in this time period, and even all-women medical schools, Merit-Ptah holds the honor of having her name recorded, likely because she occupied such a high position.