It is 2020…100 years of women voting in this country. As we look back to notable moments like this in history, we celebrate women leaders and acknowledge that the path to gender equality has not been inclusive and we are still on it. For that reason, the Change Matrix team is beginning a series of personal essays about women. They might be women we know who were models or mentors and influenced us as professionals. They might be women whose work we have loved and integrated into our own. They might be about our identification as women through a cultural lens.
It’s 2020, a time where so many amazing and inspiring women have come before me. After thinking for a long time on a woman who inspired me professionally, I decided to choose Florence Nightingale as she was the first to inspire me professionally. When I was in third grade, we had to pick a notable history figure to write a report on. I stumbled on Florence Nightingale “Lady with the Lamp,”, and she was who I chose to write my report on. She had modernized nursing during a time where women were looked down upon.
Florence Nightingale was born into a wealthy family, and grew up with a good education. Even being in a higher class, she found passion in helping the wounded at a very young age. Some of the practices she implemented heavily in hospitals at the time are still followed to this day. For example, Nightingale implemented handwashing and other hygiene practices during the Crimean War the war hospitals in which she worked. It is believed that the death rate went down drastically in hospitals that she worked at because of her implementations.
Her courage and passion to help the wounded inspired me at a young age to also work in the health field. I wanted to become a doctor after learning about her in third grade, and I kept with that goal all the way to university. Once in university though, I fell in love with Public Health, which is also in the health sector. The more I became immersed in my classes, I realized that a lot of what Florence Nightingale practiced was public health, something I find very cool. Florence Nightingale was my catalyst, my inspiration for where I am today.