Sophia Jex-Blake

Standard Name: Jex-Blake, Sophia
Birth Name: Sophia Louisa Jex-Blake
In a society that valued modesty, where women refrained from seeking treatment from male doctors for some medical problems, SJB saw a need for women doctors. Through extensive conflict, she became the third woman to have her name on the British Medical Registry. However, unlike Elizabeth Blackwell , who sought education in America, and Elizabeth Garrett Anderson , who received her degree through regulatory loopholes that soon closed, SJB directly pressured the universities and parliament, through her writings and through direct action, to admit women to both medical education and the practice of medicine. Her published works include essays on medical history and medical practice, on infection and childcare, and powerful arguments for ending the male monopoly. Her success paved the way for women to become doctors in England and Scotland on the same formal terms as men.
Black and white, head-and-shoulders photo of Sophia Jex-Blake aged twenty-five, a dozen years before she won her struggle for medical qualifications. Backed by dark drapery, she wears a simple, dark, loose-fitting dress with a white collar; her dark hair is pulled back.
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Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
Education Pandita Ramabai
Her study of Christianity had already involved her in learning about the Bible and about the English language, under Miss Hurford of the Sisters of St Mary the Virgin . Her intention in travelling to...
Leisure and Society Isabella Bird
At Edinburgh IB became involved with a community of young intellectuals whom she met through John Stuart Blackie , Professor of Greek at the University of Edinburgh , and his wife Eliza (sometimes called Ella)...
politics Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon
BLSB and other Langham feminists such as Jessie Boucherett and Emily Davies formed the society for the discussion of political and social issues. The first meeting was held at the home of Charlotte Manning ...
Textual Features Q. D. Leavis
QDL 's review constitutes a personal and professional attack on Woolf, based primarily on three fronts: education, domesticity, and class. A footnote asserts that Woolf commenting on women's institutional education is voicing an opinion on...
Textual Features Mary Stott
Here MS writes grippingly of her own life, and illuminatingly about myriad subjects of public or cultural interest: the lives, customs, and deaths of newspapers, the conspiracy of silence about sex which had not dissipated...
Theme or Topic Treated in Text Ray Strachey
The book starts with an account of Mary Wollstonecraft 's work, and proceeds decade by decade, citing Florence Nightingale , Josephine Butler , John Stuart Mill , Sophia Jex-Blake , and many others. Its heroine...


1 May 1848
Queen's College for Women (a secondary, not a post-secondary institution) was founded in London to educate prospective governesses and improve girls' education generally.
23 May 1865
The Kensington Society , a quarterly women's discussion group devoted to social and political issues, held its inaugural meeting in London.
March 1870
Edinburgh University student Mary Edith Pechey received the highest grades in her class for the Chemistry examination, but was denied the right to receive the Hope Scholarship.
April 1870
Supporters of Sophia Jex-Blake 's campaign for female medical education wrote to The Times and The Englishwoman's Review asking women to petition Parliament in support of female doctors.
Elsie Maud Inglis helped found the Medical College for Women in Edinburgh.