In approximately 350 BCE, a woman named Agnodice desired to learn medicine
. She disguised herself as a man and studied with the famous physician Herophilos
, becoming the first professional female gynecologist
She was denounced by male rival doctors, who said that she corrupted and seduced her patients, making them not want their services. She revealed her gender, clearing herself of charges of rape. Her female patients came to her defense, saying they would die with her if she were executed for practicing medicine.
Athenian law was changed, allowing women to study and practice medicine, and Agnodice was allowed to continue her medical work and to continue wearing men's clothing.
It is debatable whether Agnodice is real or mythical. The sole source of her story is Hyginus, a Latin author of the first century CE.