Woman in the spotlight at the university Library of medicine

Inaugurated in December, the second floor of our new premises at Chemin des Falaises 2 was named “Espace Marie Feyler” (1865 -1947) in honour of the first woman to graduate from the Faculty of Medicine in 1904 in the canton of Vaud.

Marie Feyler was very early on committed to women’s rights: the right to vote, the right to health. In 1907, she founded the Association for Women’s Suffrage in the canton of Vaud. In order to spread her ideas, she held numerous meetings, debates and conferences at the Women’s Shelter in Lausanne and in many towns in French-speaking Switzerland. She offers free consultations for mothers and their infants at the “Maison du Peuple”. To fight against infant mortality, she follows the example of Dr. Léon Dufour in France and founds the “Goutte de Lait” to offer sterilised milk to families.

From the end of the 19th century, the number of women completing their medical studies grew steadily. Gradually, the need was born to share specific problems of the profession among women physicians. In the absence of a Swiss association, several women physicians joined the Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA). In 1919, Marie Feyler took part in the first MWIA congress in New York. She was elected member of the commission in charge of drafting the statutes.

In 1922, Marie Feyler organised the 2nd Congress of the MWIA in Geneva, thus launching a Swiss association of women physicians.

Image: ©Musée historique de Lausanne

Published: 06.03.2020