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Tawhida Ben Cheikh – Google celebrates the Tunisian physician

LifestyleTawhida Ben Cheikh - Google celebrates the Tunisian physician

Today’s Google Doodle celebrated the Tunisian physician, magazine editor, and social activist Tawhida Ben Cheikh, widely known as the “first female physician in Tunisia”.

Ms. Cheikh, a feminist pioneer both in and out of the medical profession, Ben Cheikh was recognized to transform Tunisian medicine by providing women better access to modern healthcare.

On this day (March 27) in 2020, the Tunisian government issued a new 10-dinar note emblazoned with Ben Cheikh’s portrait, the world’s first-ever banknote to feature a female physician.

Dr. Ben Cheikh became the first Muslim female doctor to sit on the National Council of the Order of Physicians of Tunisia in 1959, to serve as its vice-president in 1962.

Tawhida Ben Cheikh (1909-2010) was born on January 2, 1909, in Tunis, Tunisia’s present-day capital, a French colony.
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In 1928, Cheikh became the first Tunisian female to graduate, but the journey did not stop there. She obtained her medical degree in Paris in 1936 at 27.

When she returned from Tunis that year, Ben Cheikh made history when she opened her free medical practice.

With core specialties in gynecology and obstetrics, she became the head of the maternity department of the city’s Charles-Nicolle hospital in 1955.

In the 70s, she founded Tunisia’s first family planning clinic. Ben Cheikh also served in numerous women’s organizations and founded Leïla, the country’s first French-language women’s magazine.