Google Doodle celebrates Tunisian feminist, doctor Tawhida Ben Cheikh

The late Tunisian physician Tawhida Ben Cheikh has been honoured on Saturday with a Google Doodle marking the one year anniversary of her appearance on the country's 10-dinar bill.

Ben Cheikh is known as a pioneer of contemporary medicine, helping women access better healthcare across Tunisia.

The note, which featured her for the first time on March 27 2020, is the world's first banknote depicting a woman doctor.

"Today’s Doodle celebrates the Tunisian physician, magazine editor, and social activist Tawhida Ben Cheikh, widely credited as the first female physician in Tunisia," Google wrote in the description of the Doodle.

"Here’s to a medical trailblazer who made huge strides for gender equality in Tunisia and beyond."

The artwork by the search engine depicts Ben Cheikh wearing a stethoscope treating women and children, with the outline of a traditional Tunisian door as her backdrop.

Ben Cheikh was born in the country’s capital Tunis on January 2 1909, which at the time was under a French colonial rule.

In 1928 she became the first female in the country to graduate secondary school, and went on to earn a medical degree in France at the age of 27.

After her return to Tunisia in the 1930s, Ben Cheikh made history for opening her own free medical practice, and then the country’s first family planning clinic forty years later.

She specialised in gynecology and obstetrics, headed the maternity department of Charles-Nicolle hospital.

Her efforts led to the legalisation of abortion in 1965, but only for married women with more than five children who had the approval of their husband. Just eight years later, Tunisia gave all women access to abortion within the first trimester, regardless of their partner's approval.

Ben Cheikh also helped numerous women’s organisations and founded Tunisia’s first French-language women’s magazine, Leïla.

The esteemed doctor passed away at the age of 101 in December 2010.

The doctor's image replaces Dido, also known as Queen Elissa, on the 10 dinar note. According to Greek and Roman sources, Dido was the founder and first queen of Carthage, a Phoenician empire which span across the Mediterranean from modern-day Tunisia.

A 2017 study estimated only 15 percent of the world's banknotes feature women.

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Google Doodle celebrates Tunisian feminist, doctor Tawhida Ben Cheikh