Broads You Should Know

Mary Edwards Walker — First female U.S. war surgeon, POW, & only woman to receive the Medal of Honor

April 8, 2020

A Broad is a woman who lives by her own rules. Broads You Should Know is the podcast about the Broads who helped shape our world.

This week, Sam brings us the story of a woman who received a Medal of Honor for her work during the US Civil War: Mary Edwards Walker!

Born to "free thinking" parents in Upstate New York, Mary was taught to question gender roles from a very early age. She became active in a quest to make it socially acceptable for women to wear slacks instead of dresses, both for patriarchal and hygienic reasons. She went on to become a surgeon, and when the Civil War broke out in 1861, she volunteered her services to the Union army. As a female, she was rejected from serving, but was "permitted" to be an unpaid volunteer. There's a lot more to the story, so check out the episode to hear the riveting tale of Mary Edwards Walker!


Broads You Should Know is Hosted by Sam Eggers, Sara Gorsky, & Justin Xavier. For more information about anyone we've covered on the podcast or to check out our sources, head to!

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