Laurice Maher… First Female Syrian doctor

Dr. Laurice Maher was the first woman graduate from the College of Medicine at Damascus University in 1930 and went on to become Syria's first woman medical doctor. She was one of the few women who were able to become a doctor in Syria and spoke at a 1932 feminist conference. Maher urged women to enter the medical field because of the “necessity of women’s intervention in public schools to detect and prevent disease, such as tuberculosis." She encouraged the profession of nursing, in hospitals or as visiting nurses.

Maher faced society's strict patriarchal views of that epoch, which was dominated by intolerance regarding female work and education; however with her persistence she achieved her goal and dream by joined the Medicine faculty at Damascus University. She also had the merit to pose for a memorial photograph with Dr.  Rida Saeed, Damascus University president at the time: One woman and 34 men stand out in this picture.

Laurice' bond with Al-Shaalan neighborhood, her place of residence, did not stop at high school stage when she was a vivid student at Franciscan School, but remained tied to that place when she opened her first clinic there.

During World War 2, Syria faced a inconsiderate economic blockade, having to open her national factories to produce food for children. It was a harsh time for Laurice Maher not only as doctor, but as woman.

On a personal level, Laurice Maher married the journalist George Fares, author of “Who are they in the Arab world”, and concluded her husband’s book by the expression "I am Laurice Maher, the first female doctor from Syria".

 

Lama Razzouq