Story of 1st female doctor working in Egyptian government



Wed, 21 Apr 2021 - 03:13 GMT


Wed, 21 Apr 2021 - 03:13 GMT

Tawhida Abdel-Rahman - Photo courtesy by Facebook page

Tawhida Abdel-Rahman - Photo courtesy by Facebook page

CAIRO – 20 April 2021: Tawhida Abdel-Rahman embarked on a journey of extensive struggle, challenge, and the search for knowledge inside and outside Egypt until she became the first Egyptian doctor to be employed in the Egyptian government in 1933.

Abdel-Rahman refused to obtain the British citizenship, as she was proud of her Egyptian nationality, and sought to return the favor to her country and people.

Muhammad Mahmoud Abdel-Latif, son of Abdel-Rahman, said, “My mother’s life story began in 1906 when she was born." Her father used to live in al-Darb al-Ahmar district in a house he owned next to the mosque of the Lady Fatima al-Nabawiyyah, and he enjoyed science and was famous for the beauty of his handwriting.

Abdel-Rahman's father copied the Holy Qur’an 18 times with the Ottoman calligraphy and once with the Moroccan one. At that time, he decided to buy a printing press at his expense to print the Qur’an and facilitate its spread.

"My mother joined Al-Seniya School for Girls; during her studies, she excelled and loved the English language, and Miss Carter, the school director, nominated her to enter the competition announced by the Egyptian government and King Fouad that selected six outstanding students to be sent on a scholarship to Britain to practice medicine," her son continued.

She was among the six winners and refused to marry at that age because she preferred getting the proper education she deserved.

Her father traveled with her to Port Said to board the ship to complete her 17-day journey to Britain.  At the time, she wore the typical Egyptian women's dress that covered the whole body, and "a burqa" (a veil), which covered the face. Her father asked her to take it off and wear European clothes so as not to be harassed in the English society.

The journey of knowledge began and proved her excellence in her studies every day. Her father did not object to her staying abroad for ten years, but rather encouraged her.

Her son said, "She came back in 1932, and the Egyptian press wrote Tawhida Abdel-Rahman passed the medical doctoral exam from England, and my mother insisted to be the female doctor to be working in governmental hospitals to serve Egypt and its people."

Indeed, a few days after her return, she was appointed at the Kitchener Charitable Hospital — the General Hospital in Shubra — and upon her arrival home, she refused an equipped medical clinic in Adli Street, downtown Cairo, as a gift from her parents to start her working life; she preferred to work in the governmental hospital, where she trained a lot of male and female physicians.

"My mother married counselor Mahmoud Mohamed Abdel-Latif, and they had seven children. My father was the youngest public prosecutor in Egypt; he looked into many cases that concerned the public, including the case of the Patriarch and the great espionage, and he rose to positions until he reached the position of President of the Court of Appeal Cairo," Abdel-Latif concluded.




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