researcher, Weihenstephan- Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences; senior education consultant , Cz&K Consulting; member of the Hungarian National Commission of UNESCO
„My sword is science, my shield is work.”
the legacy of Vilma Hugonnai, the first Hungarian female physician in 2022
The Hungarian National Commission for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has proposed the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the death of Vilma Hugonnai, the first Hungarian female physician, in 2021, in a joint commemoration with UNESCO. After the positive decision of the General Assembly in November 2021, the Pre- sident of the Hungarian National Commission for UNESCO proposed to the Union of Hungarian Women the coordination of a joint commemoration of the “100th Anniversary of the Death of Vil- ma Hugonnai (1847-1922), the first Hungarian doctor”. With this commemoration, Vilma Hugon- nai’s work as a healer for families, her intellectual achievements, her enduring spiritual strength, her courage, her innovative and proactive approach and her spirit of sustaining women’s role in society as a value are to be presented as examples for present and future generations. The event is co-organised by the Hungarian Association of Midwives, the Semmelweis Museum and Archives of Medical History and the Professional Association of Hungarian Health Visitors.
“She did not have an easy life, she had plenty of work besides her professional duties, she was a child minder, an advocate for children and women, and furthermore, she managed to publish a book. She translated the Anna Fischer-Dückelmann’s book from German, a family medicine book for women, and wrote the foreword to it – a copy of which I keep in the family heritage”, said András Lászlóné Radványi, great-niece of Vilma Hugonnai, at the inauguration ceremony of the Vilma Hugonnai Square in 2020 in Józsefváros (the square next to the External Clinical Block of Semmelweis University, is named after the first Hungarian female doctor).
In this article, the life of Vilma Hugonnai will be analysed based on interviews with organisers, the objective being the exploration of the message and example of Doctor Hugonnai to the organisers 100 years later.