On behalf of women everywhere who have a brave heart, and a passion to pursue their goals and aspirations, as well as a desire to do good for their country and fellow citizens, we recognize the service of Dr. Mary Edwards Walker. Although some of the things she stood for were controversial, and we at Chaverah do not agree with all her methods, we do however recognize the good that she did for the rights of women, and service to her country by caring for the wounded during the Civil War, and beyond, and therefore deem her contributions to be notable nonetheless.

            Dr. Walker grew up on a farm in upstate New York, in a family of four daughters and a son. Her parents were both teachers. Her father was also a self-taught surgeon. Her parents encouraged all their children to pursue their professions. At the time, the only profession that seemed acceptable for women was teaching. But Dr. Walker determined to be a doctor and went to one of the two medical schools of the day that would accept women. She received her medical degree to become a surgeon.

Dr. Mary Walker is said to have paved the way for female surgeons in the U.S. Dr. Mary Edwards Walker (1832–1919) was the first female surgeon employed by the U.S Army and the only woman to ever receive the highest U.S. Armed Forces decoration of bravery – the Medal of Honor. After the Civil War, her commitment to serving her country did not waver. She devoted her life to supporting women’s suffrage and was a frequent lecturer on health care and women’s rights.

Dr. Walker continued to excel in the face of significant adversity in her surgical profession. Because of her fierce bravery and service to her country, there is now an award named the “Dr. Mary Edwards Walker Inspiring Women in Surgery Award,” in honor of Dr. Walker. Through her example of excellence and perseverance, Dr. Walker paved the way for many of the female surgeons of today.

Dr. Mary Edwards Walker

Photo Courtesy of: https://www.military.com/history/dr-mary-edwards-walker.html

Article Written by: Gillian Harper