Emily Stowe.

Essay by ReeRee March 2004

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Emily Stowe

Emily Howard Jennings is a true Canadian heroine. Fortunately she was born in Quaker community that saw women as equals. Emily received a good education and became a very successful teacher. Despite her achievements Emily wanted much more.

Emily learned about homeopathic medicine from Dr. Joseph Lancaster and with the support of her husband, John Stowe, she decided to try a new career. When she tried to get in the Toronto School of Medicine she was told that women would never be accepted. Emily promised herself that one-day women would have the same opportunities as men.

She went off and studied homeopathic medicine at the New York Medical College for Women. Then in 1867, she became Canada's first practicing female physician. 4 years later, in order to meet licensing requirements, Emily and Jenny Trout became the first women to attend lectures in the Toronto School of Medicine.

This was a difficult period for both of them as both students and faculty went out of their way to embarrass and humiliate them. Unfortunately, Emily failed and went back to practicing without a license.

Emily became one of Canada's leading feminists. She founded one of the earliest female suffrage groups and was instrumental in the mock parliament of 1896 where a parliament of women, using all of the arguments men had used against them, refused to give men the vote. She helped found the Women's Medical College in Toronto in 1883. In 1903 Emily Howard Jennings Stowe died.