When I went to visit my Dad last week he was looking through a book assembled in 2009 for the 50th anniversary of his medical school graduating class from the University of Manitoba in 1959. It included this photo taken at the gala celebration staged for the graduation. What struck me most about the photo was that only one woman graduated in 1959. Now, some sixty years later nearly 60% of family physicians in Canada under the age of 40 are women. A growing body of research shows that female physicians care for their patients in ways that leave them more satisfied and with better health outcomes. I wonder how that lone woman felt in that sea of men in 1959. She was a pioneer.
Dad was a much-beloved and respected family physician in Steinbach for more than four decades and by the time he retired from the profession, he did have several female colleagues.
I was five years old at the time of my Dad’s graduation and I still remember the beautiful dress my mother wore to the party where the photo above was taken. She and Dad had been living on the proverbial shoestring to get Dad through school. Dad worked all kinds of part-time jobs as a train porter and a cab driver while he studied. Mom helped bring in money by running a boarding house for university students, doing the cooking, cleaning and laundry for them, all the while caring for her three children plus another little girl, the daughter of a nurse who was single parenting and needed child care. Although Mom isn’t in the graduation class photo she was an invaluable partner in my Dad’s achievement in 1959.
Other posts about my Dad’s treasures…….