Florence Dissent

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Florence Dissent

Florence Dissent.jpg
Image of Florence Dissent from Indian Medical Record.
Born(1869-07-09)July 9, 1869

Florence Dissent later Mrs Dissent Barnes (9 July 1869 -) was an Anglo-Indian medical practitioner and surgeon.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Dissent was born in Calcutta. She was educated at home until the age of eight, when she became a day-pupil at Loreto Convent, where she stayed until the age of 14.

She received her MD from Brussels and like Dagmar Berne she was licensed through the Triple Qualification from the Scottish medical and surgical colleges, the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.[2]

Medical Work[edit]

In medical journals, Dissent was referred to as 'Miss', showing that she practised as a surgeon.[1] After qualifying, she worked at the Dufferin Hospital in Allahbad. She was attached to the Dufferin Fund and later the Women's Medical Service for India.

In 1895, the Indian Medical Record published a full-page biographical sketch of Dissent.[3] She was held up as a role model to encourage women to enter medicine. The article declared: "Many avenues of work are open for our girls, but none offers so splendid an opportunity for usefulness to women in any other part of the world, as medical practice by women among the women of India. The zenanas will remain closed to men physicians for another century, and all this while women physicians have to themselves an unexplored field of service that is unsurpassed in its possibilities for doing good".[3]

Dissent published findings from her medical research. In 1891,the Indian Medical Gazette featured observations from her practice at Allahbad.[4]

In 1911 or 12 she was visited by Sidney and Beatrice Webb where they noted the spread of syphilis but also that Dissent had been successful in persuading the local Begum to allow her to train traditionally trained midwives. It was said that midwives were prevented from practising if they had not been on a course organising by Dissent.[5]

In 1922, Dissent was attached to the Government of Bombay to inquire into the maternity conditions of industrial women workers.[6] A year later, her report on the subject was published in the Bombay Labour Gazette.[7]

She published under both Miss Dissent and Mrs Dissent Barnes.


  1. ^ a b acting as surgeon, RCSEng, Retrieved 24 May 2018
  2. ^ Triple Qualification, retrieved 24 May 2018
  3. ^ a b "Our Picture Gallery: Miss Florence Dissent". Indian Medical Record: 334. 1 May 1895.
  4. ^ Dissent, Florence (December 1891). "Mirror of Medicine: Two Cases of Large Uterine Polypus". Indian Medical Gazette: 334.
  5. ^ Sidney Webb (18 June 1992). The Webbs in Asia: The 1911–12 Travel Diary. Palgrave Macmillan UK. pp. 249–. ISBN 978-1-349-12328-5.
  6. ^ "Maternity Conditions in India". The Lancet: 216. 4 February 1922.
  7. ^ Balfour, Margaret Ida; Young, Ruth (1929). The Work of Medical Women in India. London: Oxford University Press. p. 176.