Elinor Sneshell was a female barber surgeon who was active during the reign of Elizabeth I of England. In the 1593 Returns of Strangers in the Metropolis, she was listed as a widow originating from Valenciennes who had been resident in London for 26 years. Sneshell was one of only two known female barber surgeons who practiced during this period.
During medieval Europe, physicians did not partake in surgery. It was conducted by barbers who often provided surgical and dental services to soldiers injured during wars.
Jane Sharp was a 17th century English midwife. In 1671 she published The Midwives Book: or the Whole Art of Midwifery Discovered, becoming the first English woman to publish a book on midwifery. In her book, she combines the medical knowledge of the time with personal anecdote and states her belief that the profession of midwifery should be reserved for women. The book is still in print as a primary source of information about women, childbirth and sexuality during the Renaissance.
Jeanne Dumée (died 1706) was a French astronomer and author.
Dumée married early and when she became a widow at 17, she dedicated her life to studying astronomy. She was the author of the manuscript Discusión da opinión de Copérnico sobre o movemento da Terra (1680), which was praised for its analysis of the motions of the earth. An advocate of women’s right to study science, Dumée tried to refute the idea that a woman’s brain was not equal to a man’s, a common notion in her day.