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Aletta Jacobs (9 February 1854 – 10 August 1929) was a Dutch physician and women’s suffrage activist. As the first woman officially to attend a Dutch university, she became one of the first female physicians in the Netherlands. In 1882, she founded the world’s first birth control clinic and was a leader in both the Dutch and international women’s movements.
Life and Career
She was born on 9 February 1854, she was the first woman in the Netherlands to receive a university degree, and the first female doctor in the country. She studied medicine in Zurich, Switzerland and later established a medical practice in Amsterdam.
Jacobs was a strong advocate for women’s rights and suffrage. She was a member of the International Council of Women, the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, and the Dutch Association for Women’s Suffrage. Through her activism, she helped change laws in the Netherlands to grant women the right to vote and to receive an education.
She also worked to improve women’s health, particularly in the areas of contraception and family planning. Jacobs was an early advocate of birth control and wrote several articles on the subject.
Jacobs died on 10 August 1929, but her legacy continues to inspire women’s rights activists around the world.
Award and Legacy
Aletta Jacobs was recognized for her contributions to the fields of medicine and women’s rights with several awards and honors throughout her lifetime. Some of these include:
- Grand Cross of the Order of Orange-Nassau (1924): This is the highest order of chivalry in the Netherlands, and Jacobs was awarded it for her contributions to the country and its people.
- Honorary Doctorate from the University of Amsterdam (1926): This was in recognition of her achievements as the first female doctor in the Netherlands, and her advocacy for women’s rights and health.
Jacobs’ legacy continues to inspire generations of women’s rights activists, both in the Netherlands and around the world. Her work helped pave the way for greater equality and opportunities for women in education, healthcare, and political life. Her efforts to secure the right to vote for women and to promote family planning and birth control have had a lasting impact on women’s health and reproductive rights.
On 9 February 2017, Google Doodle celebrated Aletta Jacobs’s 163rd Birthday.