Dr. Marie Thomas’ 125th Birthday – Today’s Doodle celebrates the 125th birthday of Dr. Marie Thomas, one of the first female doctors in Indonesia. Born on this day in 1896 in the Indonesian village of Likupang, Marie Thomas made history as the nation’s first female specialist in gynecology and obstetrics.
Marie Thomas frequently moved around Indonesia throughout childhood before graduating from a European school based in Manado. It was then that Charlotte Jacobs, one of the Netherlands’ first female pharmacists, supported her with a scholarship fund for aspiring Indonesian female physicians. In 1912, Thomas was accepted into STOVIA (School for Education of Native Doctors), which prior to her enrollment, was an institution exclusive to men.
Ten years later, Marie Thomas earned her doctorate, an achievement with such an international impact that even a Dutch newspaper announced her graduation. Not missing a beat, she promptly went to work at one of the largest hospitals in Batavia (modern-day Jakarta). Thomas later moved to Padang, where she continued her trailblazing career as one of the first doctors to introduce new methods of contraception, such as the IUD, to women across the archipelago.
Renowned for her generosity, Thomas often treated those unable to afford her care at no cost. She further exhibited her passion for patient care by establishing the first Sumatran school for midwifery; only the second of its kind in Indonesia at the time.
Happy birthday, Dr. Marie Thomas. Thank you for your selfless dedication to the lives of others that has paved the way for women in Indonesia to pursue medicine and higher education.
You can find more about Dr. Marie Thomas’ 125th Birthday on the official Google Doodle Page