Suffolk inspiration Elizabeth Garrett Anderson celebrated in report about female leadership

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

The life and work of Suffolk “trailblazer” Elizabeth Garrett Anderson have been celebrated in a new report exploring female leadership.

The Garrett Anderson Centre at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: ALEX FAIRFULL

The Garrett Anderson Centre at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: ALEX FAIRFULL

Leading Women: The Life, Legacy and Inspiration of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson is being released to mark the centenary of the former mayor of Aldeburgh’s death and reflects on the achievements of working women across society, as well as the barriers that remain in their way.

The document features essays from female leaders within the education sector including Baroness Ruth Deech; Frances King, chief executive of Mill Hill School Foundation; and Joanna Read, principal of London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

In a preface, Anne Milton, minister of state for apprenticeships and skills, writes: “Elizabeth Garrett Anderson forged a path when no woman could be her role model. We often say that “if you can see it you can be it”, and I believe I have benefitted from that sentiment, knowing that others have gone before me and laid the way for women to enter politics. Garrett Anderson was a true trailblazer, and....made it possible for women to succeed everywhere.”

However, in order to see continued progress for women, Ms Milton said more “champions for change” needed to step forward.


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Chief executive of East Anglia’s Inspiration Trust, Dame Rachel de Souza, said she encouraged the students she worked with to learn from “impressive women” like Garrett Anderson.

Born and raised in Suffolk, Garrett Anderson became mayor of Aldeburgh in 1908.

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She was the first Englishwoman to become a qualified doctor, later establishing a medical institute for women in London, and worked to improve educational and political access for women throughout her life.

The critical care centre at Ipswich Hospital is named after Garrett Anderson, whose sister Millicent Garrett Fawcett was a leading suffragist and established the Fawcett Society with her husband.

The report investigates the challenges women encounter in the development of their careers and in reaching levels of leadership, such as child care, which can require women to take more time off work than men, while offering advice to those looking to break through.

The report can be viewed here.

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