Women’s History Month: Famous Women in History Who Impacted Physical Therapy
March is Women’s History Month! There have been plenty of women that’s impacted the world we know as today. This has bled into the Physical therapy world and women have made an impact on the PT industry. Nearly 64% of the profession is dominated by women. The following women have the most prominent influence in PT:
Mary is considered to be the “Founding Mother” of the Physical Therapy profession. She received education and training in England and returned to the United States, working with P.E. graduates who were responsible for rehabilitating our WWI survivors.
In 1918, Mary became the first “reconstruction aide” in the United States which eventually led her to train other women in the profession. She is remembered for her sparkling personality, warmth and sense of community which led to more women pursuing physical therapy as a career.
Well known British dancer who pursued an interest in breath and pelvic floor muscle training to control leakage back in the 1930s – a few years before Dr. Kegel published his findings. Despite Dr Kegel, and the misnomer of “kegels” being attributed to him and his work – Margaret first outlined and published the foundational work from which a majority of Dr. Kegel’s “exercise regimens” were derived. She is recognized as the founder for pelvic floor rehabilitation in modern medicine as we know it today.
A Physical Therapist credited with founding the Women’s Health Section of the APTA in 1977. Elizabeth was recognized internationally as the expert of, and an advocate for, the physiology of pregnancy, birth and postpartum experiences.
German Physical therapist. Known for establishing a course in prepared childbirth education at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC. Additionally, in 1960 she co-founded the American Society of Psychoprophylaxis in Obstetrics. She has also published numerous books in psychoprophylaxis which have become the mainstays in prepared childbirth education. She was a large advocate for the Physical Therapist’s role for birth preparation in the United States. Which is something we’re still fighting for today, 60 years later.
There are so many more honorable mentions of women impacting the PT industry as we know it today, we could go on forever. Especially since female representation at the executive level is growing, there will be so many more female physical therapists that will influence the profession in the future.