Elizabeth Garrett Anderson was a pioneer of women’s rights in medicine and society. She fought tirelessly for women to have access to high quality health care and for the right of women to practice medicine. Born in 1836, she made history in 1865 when she became the first female doctor to qualify in Britain, despite vigorous opposition from the medical establishment. She was also the first female mayor (Aldeburgh in Suffolk) as well as a suffragist.
In 1950, her son Sir Alan Anderson a past Prime Warden, and subsequently her grandson Sir Colin Anderson also a past Prime Warden, gave donations to the Company to establish a fund in memory of Elizabeth, to benefit female medical students at a time when women still faced considerable barriers to enter the profession. The resulting partnership between the Company and UCL Medical School has continued to grow and has allowed hundreds of female medical students without the means to fund their studies, to fulfil their potential and improve the lives of countless patients around the world.
Today over half of medical students are female, and while women remain under-represented with certain specialties, the advancement of women in medicine, aided by initiatives such as the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Scholarships, has been outstanding. Nonetheless many medical students, both male and female, face considerable challenges funding what is typically nowadays a six-year course at undergraduate level. Despite NHS funding for fees, there remains an objective shortfall of £3,000 per annum during the clinical training phase.
I cannot possibly convey how much relief this bursary has given me. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off me, and that I can concentrate on enjoying my course, and continuing with the extra-curricular activities which do bring me happinessNicole Sarens – EGA Scholar
The difference that a EGA scholarship makes in evidenced in the many letters of thanks received by the Company. We look forward to continuing the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson legacy, helping to ensure that remaining barriers to able students are broken down and that society is served by doctors from all backgrounds