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Dr. Nafis Sadik, the former Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with the rank of Under-Secretary-General, served between 1987 and 2000. She was the first women to head one of the United Nations' major voluntarily - funded programs.
She is an obstetrician-gynecologist from Pakistan. She was born in Jaunpur, India to Iffat Ara and Mohammad Shoaib. Her early education took place in Calcutta at Loreto College. She received her doctor of medicine degree from Dow Medical College (Karachi) and completed her internship in gynecology and obstetrics at City Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland (USA).
Dr. Sadik was a civilian medical officer in charge of women's and children's wards in various Pakistani armed forces hospitals during 1954 to 1963. In 1964 she was made Head of the health section of the Planning Commission, entrusted with the responsibility of developing, preparing and evaluating a five-year health and family planning programme as part of the nation's overall development plan. In 1966 she became the Director of the Planning and Training Division, the Government agency charged with carrying out the family planning programme. Between 1968 to 1970, she occupied the post of Deputy Director-General and was made its Director-General in 1970 before moving to UNFPA.
Dr. Sadik served UNFPA for thirty years from October 1971, she became Chief of its Programme Division in 1973 and from 1982 until 1987 was appointed Assistant Executive Director. In 1987 she became its first women Executive Director and continued till her retirement in the year 2000. An eminent personality, Dr. Sadik, received numerous honorary degrees and awards recognizing her leadership in the family planning field. She has also authored and edited a number of publications. She is also the first female recipient of the Hugh Moore Award in 1976, named after a pioneer in the United States credited with calling attention to the world population crisis. In 1988, she was elected to the Fellowship ad eundem of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the United Kingdom. Dr. Sadik was the President of the Society for International Development (SID) for the period 1994-1997.
Throughout her career, Dr. Sadik, consistently called attention to the importance of addressing the needs of women, and of involving women directly in making and carrying out development policy. At International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994, calling all women Dr. Sadik Said, "As women, we must be courageous in speaking out on the issues that concern us: we must not bend under the weight of spurious arguments invoking cultural or traditional values. No value worth the name supports the oppression and enslavement of women. The function of culture and tradition is to provide a framework for human well-being. If they are used against us, we will reject them and move on. We will not allow ourselves to be silenced,"
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