Dr Catherine Hamlin has been honoured with the ‘NSW Award for Excellence in Women’s Leadership’ by Women & Leadership Australia (video below). The award was in recognition of Catherine’s 60 years of dedication to the eradication of obstetric fistula in Ethiopia. For 60 of her 95 years, Catherine has been a world leader in best practice fistula treatment and care. She and her late husband, Reg, pioneered the surgical technique to repair fistula – a technique which is still used today.
The award was presented during the Women & Leadership Sydney Symposium, held on 18th July, as part of the Australian Awards for Excellence in Women’s Leadership. The award recognises the efforts of individual women who have endeavoured to advance the prospects of other women within their field and have contributed to the advancement of gender equality. Catherine has helped to restore agency and good health to over 60,000 women in Ethiopia. She established the Hamlin College of Midwives in 2007, with over 170 students graduating from the college with B.Sc in Midwifery. Catherine truly is a role model for women and girls around the world.
A pioneer in STEM, Catherine has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize, was awarded honorary Ethiopian citizenship in 2012 and was named NSW Senior Australian of the Year in 2018.
Accepting the award on Catherine’s behalf was Dr Alison Morgan. Alison is Catherine’s niece and a board member at the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation. She has over 25 years of experience in global health research and practice, with an expertise in maternal and child health. She has also consulted for the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Speaking from both her professional and personal experience, Alison’s speech highlighted Catherine’s passion and resilience throughout her 60 years in Ethiopia – as well as revealing the family motto: “be right and persist; and if you can’t be right, just persist!”
You can watch Alison’s moving speech in full below:
Catherine’s incredible efforts to eradicate fistula in Ethiopia are only possible through the generosity of your donations. You can support Catherine’s work by donating here.