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Google Celebrates Matilde Montoya: Mexico's First Female Doctor

Education By Thairi Kahoiti
Google Celebrates Matilde Montoya: Mexico's First Female Doctor

Women weren't allowed to attend medical school - Matilde changed that.

She petitioned Porfirio Díaz himself.

Google has dedicated their daily Doodle to Dr. Matilde Montoya on the trailblazing physician's 160th birthday.

Matilde Petra Montoya Lafrauga was born in Mexico City in 1859, a time when women weren't encouraged or even allowed to pursue an education.

With the help and encouragement of her mother, Matilde studied privately.  She became a schoolteacher at 13, worked in a hospital at 14, and became a midwife at 16, specializing in attending to single mothers.

There were no women doctors in Mexico at the time; Matilde was determined to be the first.  Despite campaigns against her by male doctors, she managed to enroll in the Escuela de Medicina de México.

When it came time to graduate, the school refused to grant her a degree, citing that the rules referred to alumos, male students, not alumnas.  So the Matilde appealed to President General Porfirio Díaz himself to intercede on her behalf.  He did.

Again, she didn't stop there: she petitioned the government to change the Escuela de Medicina de México rules to allow the admission of women, not just herself.

Despite ridicule and harassment from male students, Matilde earned her medical degree in 1887.  Porfirio Díaz and his wife attended her graduation ceremony.

Dr. Montoya went on to practice for decades and even co-founded the Mexican Medical Association.  She provided care to all patients, regardless of their background or ability to pay.


¡Feliz cumpleaños, Dra. Matilde Montoya!