Elizabeth Bagshaw 1881 – 1982
“She affected profound change at a time of enormous adversity.” – Canadian Medical Hall of Fame
Elizabeth established herself, a female doctor, as a family physician focusing on obstetrics. For 70 years, Elizabeth worked closely with women and signed more birth certificates than any other doctor in her city, Hamilton. In addition, she also worked a full time job UNPAID at a dermatology clinic. At age 95 she decided to retire while still working with 50 patients as the oldest practicing physician in Canada.
Bagshaw became involved in getting Canada’s first (not to mention illegal) birth control clinic in 1932. At this time, there was intense criticism from medical and religious communities. Also during this time there were family issues regarding having children that they couldn’t afford. With this societal issue in mind, Elizabeth served as a great source of education and information, and advocated for the idea that women should have control over their reproductive organs. 37 years later, the clinic became legal with government grants.
After investing as a Member of the Order of Canada, she also received awards and honours from the Governor General Person’s Award in 1979, Hamilton’s Citizen of the Year in 1970, to the Hamilton Academy of Medicine made a lectureship in her name in 1981. Thank you Elizabeth for all you have done for Canadian women!