Tunisia honours first female doctor on banknote

Tunisia honours first female doctor on banknote

Featuring on Tunisia’s 10 dinar bill is the late physician and gynaecologist Tawhida Ben Sheikh who was the country’s first female doctor

Tunisia’s apex bank, Central Bank of Tunisia last Thursday, March 26, has honoured the first female history maker in the country’s medical history by endorsing her face on  new banknotes

The bank disclosed that the new 10 Tunisian dinar note would feature female doctor Tewhida ben Sheikh, the first woman to make it onto the country’s currency.

Ben Sheikh, born in 1909 passed on a decade ago, in 2010. She was the first Muslim woman to become a physician in North Africa in the 20th century and is particularly renowned for her work in women’s health and specialization in gynaecology.

Ben Sheikh came from an elite Tunisian family which was socially conservative, and her widowed mother was reluctant to allow her to go to France after secondary school; however, her secondary school instructors and a physician from the Louis Pasteur Institute of Tunis (Dr Etienne Burnet), persuaded Ben Sheikh's mother that she showed significant promise.

In 1928, she became the first woman to attain a high school baccalaureate and eventually specialized in gynaecology, heading campaigns around access to contraception and abortion which precipitated the legalization of abortion in 1965.

The new note went into circulation on Friday, March 27, as legal tender. It will circulate alongside the country’s other currency. The country uses coins and banknotes. The dinar is subdivided into 1,000 milim or millimes.