International Women’s Day - Dr Anandi Gopal Joshi

Updated: Mar 9, 2021

International women’s day, like the name suggests, is a global event aimed at raising awareness and celebrating the achievements of women. In keeping with this, we thought it would be interesting to discuss India’s first female doctor: Dr Anandi Gopal Joshi.

Early Life (& Marriage)

Dr Joshi was born in Maharashtra in 1865. She was married to a man more than three times her age, when she was aged 9 years old! [1] When she was 14 years of age she gave birth to her first child. Sadly, the child passed away a few days postpartum due to poor healthcare. [2] This tragic event could have possibly contributed to her desire to become a doctor and help better improve the healthcare system.

Medical career

Dr Joshi’s very supportive husband noticed her desire to study medicine abroad and subsequently began sending letters to a well-known American missionary, the Royal Wilder. They offered to help under the condition that the couple convert to Christianity, something that was not an option for Dr Joshi and her husband. [3] However, the Wilder published a correspondence in a local review, which was seen by a local resident in New Jersey, who went on to send many letters back and forth to the couple and help Dr Joshi achieve her dreams. Despite her declining healthcare, she travelled to America alone by ship, following her husband’s encouragement. She was accepted into the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, from where she graduated with a degree in western medicine after two years. [4] Dr Joshi was the first Indian woman to get a western medical degree. She received some criticism, which led to her addressing the Serampore College hall, highlighting the importance for female doctors in India - this received a lot of support. [5]

Her legacy

Before she was able to begin practising medicine and start on fulfilling her dream of opening a medical school for women, Dr Joshi sadly passed away, aged 22, from tuberculosis. [2] She certainly lived her short life to the fullest, having a big impact in the international field of medicine and inspiring many. There has been a Marathi film, creatively named, Anandi Gopal, which details her incredible life story. We haven’t watched this film yet but after researching into her life, we are interested in finding this 8.8/10 on IMDb film! Dr Joshi has left her mark not only on planet Earth but on Venus. A 34km crater on Venus was named ‘Joshee’ (perhaps, Joshi had already been taken by another crater??) in 1997 by the International Astronomical Union. [6]

We hope you found our short summary of Dr Joshi’s life inspiring and interesting! Happy International Women’s Day!

-Sneha and Adi







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