Aletta Jacobs (1854-1929), qualified as a physician in 1878

Art by Ambrea (tumblr, instagram, twitter)

Aletta enrolled at the University of Groningen in 1871 as the Netherland’s first female university student.  In 1878, she graduated from Amsterdam University as the country’s first female physician.  After graduation, Aletta ran a free clinic for women and children in Amsterdam.  She offered pessaries to her patients and her clinic is sometimes considered the world’s first birth control clinic.

Aletta was also involved in the women’s rights movement both at home and abroad. She was a founding member of the Vereeniging voor Vrouwenkiesrecht (Dutch Woman Suffrage Alliance), the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.  

In 1883, Aletta attempted to vote.  At the times, women were not explicitly forbidden from voting in the Netherlands, but there was an income requirement which Aletta met.  In response, the Dutch Parliament added the word “male” to the list of voting qualifications in 1887.  Dutch women were not granted the right to vote until 1919.