The first Fistula hospital in New York closed its doors in 1925, the year after Catherine Hamlin was born. That’s a really long time ago!

Yet in the developing nations, where there are not enough doctors, midwives, and places where women can be medically seen to in cases of difficult childbirths, this condition is extremely common. But the surgery can be out of financial reach of the women who need it badly, so they live in isolation, in disgrace and shame.

Dr. Hamlin answered an advertisement in a medical journal to head on over to Ethiopia and open a midwifery school, on a three year contract, way back in 1959. Go forward a decade and a half and the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital was founded by Catherine and her Husband, Dr. Reginald Hamlin. 

Jump forward to 2007 and Dr Hamlin helped open the Hamlin College of Midwives, starting with only 12 students. The college aimed to have a birth attendant for as many regional areas as possible.

Now Dr Hamlin and her team have helped save the lives of over 35,000 women and the number is climbing daily.

Catherine is highly decorated with awards from many countries over many decades, but I feel that none of that really matters to a woman with a heart of gold, a will of iron, and a steely resolve. Thank you Dr. Hamlin–for giving the lives back to so many women who would otherwise suffer, and in some cases die, from a condition that’s very treatable.

For more information on Fistula, here’s a public service announcement by Natalie Imbruglia

For more information on how you can help fund Catherine’s amazing work in Ethiopia http://hamlin.org.au/

There’s also a book (though apparently it’s recommended to the older reader)

The Hospital by the River: A story of Hope

By Catherine Hamlin and John Little

Paperback, 308 pages

Published March 3rd 2005 by Monarch Books (first published January 1st 2001)

ISBN 0825460719 (ISBN13: 9780825460715)

Natalie PanekI really wanted to do a complete profile for this inspiring young woman, however, as is with most women who are really worth talking about, there is very little information to be found.

Natalie Panek is an up-and-comer in the scientific world and, with a couple of successful Tedx talks under her belt, people are beginning to sit up and take notice… slowly.

In her last Tedx talk she spoke of the gender inequality we create for ourselves as women. We create it for ourselves because we don’t seek out the women who really make a difference, who are working to keep their heads above water in a highly masculine industry and who themselves may not value what they’re achieving enough  to realise that we need them to speak up and become the role models for future generations.

So, as there is a severe lack of biographical information, I’ll link you to her Tedx talks and let her speak for herself. You’ll be hard pressed to not walk a little taller and enjoy the day a little more after hearing what Natalie has to say.

We will certainly be watching to see how she can reshape the feminist movement.

Revolutionising Female Empowerment

Why we explore

Natalie also has her own YouTube channel, where she posts videos of her adventures. A rolling stone gathers no moss, and this young woman is certainly going places.

malala-yousafzai-1-w724When thinking about influential women under the age of 25 these days, one name springs to mind. The young lady who has had my friends and I in jaw-locked awe is Malala Yousafzai. You will definitely have heard of her… especially if you follow the news.

When I was her age, my biggest concern was not being allowed to go to the Blue Light Disco to make puppy eyes at the latest hottie. The plight of other 16 year old girls around the world couldn’t be further from my mind. So just to re-ignite the embers of interest here’s a run down of why Malala will go down in history.

In Pakistan and in many of the middle Eastern countries, girls and women are not given the same right to an education as their brothers. The Taliban, perhaps, see education of females as a threat to their regime. So Malala was forced to use pseudonym when writing blogs for the BBC about what life was REALLY like under the Taliban. In 2009 she was only 11 or 12.

In 2010 a documentary was made about her life by The New York Times. This lead to her public speaking fame which she she chose to use to turn the spotlight on the plight of the inequality in educational opportunities in the middle east. This also lead to award nominations and the International Children’s Peace Prize.

Malala again made headlines in October of 2012, when the Taliban tried to shut her up for good by shooting her in the forehead, and killing her classmates who were on the bus with her. She spent many months in rehabilitation.

By April 2013 Malala had been on Time Magazine‘s ‘100 most influential people’ list, and her face graced the cover of that issue. Standing tall in the faces of the terrorists.

Canada decided to give Malala an honorary Canadian Citizenship a few days after the first anniversary of the shooting.

She won the inaugural National Youth Peace Prize in Pakistan and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel slipped past her this year, but I know in my gut that she will get the honour in the years to come.

What this incredible young woman does in her spare time will change the world for the better and when she turns her sights on public speaking, she is one outstandingly inspirational person.

“One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first.”

Malala has released her first book entitled I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban.

I look forward to getting the chance to read this book as it has the potential to make a whole generation sit up and pay attention. How grateful I am that we to live in an era when 16 isn’t too young to have a say in the future of our planet.

Here is a link to the speech Malala made to the UN in 2013.


I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

Paperback,320 pages

Published October 8th 2013 by W & N Non Fiction (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)(first published March 2013)

ISBN: 0297870920 (ISBN13: 9780297870920)

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malala_Yousafzai


May ObrienSince we’ve been looking so much at amazing women abroad for the last few Mirror Mirror instalments, I thought it time to look to our own shores for a while. Today we look at the MOST influential Indigenous Australian woman, May O’Brien.

Born in Western Australia, in1933 to the Wongatha people May was part of ‘The Stolen Generation’, however, as she tells it she was not ‘stolen, but displaced by circumstances out of her control’. An abusive mother and an absent father, meant May spent plenty of time in institutions. She may not have been stolen, however, she would have been treated no differently than those who were.

Despite her disadvantages, May blossomed into an activist, an author, a teacher and a forward thinker. She was taken in by a part-Aboriginal couple, who were unable to adopt her because of the then ‘native welfare laws’. In turn, this lead her to the Mount Margaret Mission.

For a decade May worked and studied at Mount Margaret. She went onto school and then to college (which was almost unheard of for an Aboriginal woman) and returned to Mount Margaret Mission to teach in 1954. As the first female Aboriginal teacher in Western Australia, she has earned her title as a trail blazer.

obrien_wunambiShe spent 25 years working in education, and was eventually given the chance to begin planning programs designed to benefit indigenous children in the education system.

In 1977 she was awarded the British Empire Medal, opening doors toward further recognition including the Churchill Fellowship in 1984. This particular medal allowed her to study other indigenous cultural issues in Canada, Great Britain and the USA.

Up to this point she had worked tirelessly against racism and sexism.

Retirement from the Education Department has not seen May slow down a whole lot. She is still an ambassador for Literacy and Numeracy, is involve in her community and has written many children’s books.

I encourage you to look more into the Stolen Generation, and have a little empathy for those who made the most of their situation and worked to change the laws, change society and fought to give the following generations a better chance of success.





Some of May’s children’s books

The Legend of the Seven Sisters

Wunambi the Water Snake  

Bawoo Storie

The point of this series is to highlight strong women who you may not know anything about. To inspire and to give hope where you may be left wanting. The women we focus on have done courageous, incredible and amazing things to shape the world and blaze trails for each and everyone of us to follow. Today we’re going to look at the most powerful woman in the American political system.

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton was born on October 26th 1947 in Chicago, Illinois. Unlike many of her fellow politicians, Hillary attended public schools. At age 13 her political aspirations and beliefs were sent reeling when she found evidence of electoral fraud against Richard Nixon, and rather than throwing in the towel she instead put her support behind another republican candidate, Barry Goldwater, for the 1964 election. Hillary was, and is, an extremely smart woman graduating in the top 5 percent of her high school class in 1965.

Her college studies were also weighted heavily in political sciences. Her views were once again brought into question with the Vietnam War, she was said to have described herself as “a mind conservative and a heart liberal.” But Hillary was to find her fire after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr., whom she met in the early Sixties. She organised a two-day student strike and worked with Wellesley’s black students to recruit more black students and faculty at Wellesley College.

From here Hillary spent time studying at Yale Law School, and in 1974 she was a member of the impeachment inquiry staff in Washington D.C, and we all know the rest of that story. She married Bill Clinton in Arkansas on October 11, 1975, in a Methodist ceremony in their living room.

From ’75 until the early ’90’s Hillary became the first woman to be made a full partner of Rose Law Firm, gave birth to their daughter Chelsea, and was a advocate for children’s and women’s rights.

As the First Lady of the United States of America, Clinton helped construct the Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice, promoted immunisations against childhood illness and through coverage of Medicare gave older women the opportunity to receive mammograms to detect breast cancer. Not to keep things for women only she also helped get extra funding into prostate cancer research.

On January 21, 2009 Hillary Clinton took her oath as President Obama’s Secretary of State. She was in the Whitehouse of her own accord. Now things were going to get a little interesting as she had the platform to empower women globally, not just in her own back yard.

Mostly her role as Secretary of State was as a diplomat. She managed to ruffle a few feathers by speaking frankly about freedom of information, equality of same sex couples, and women’s rights. One of the highlights had to have been meeting with with Burmese leaders as well as opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and sought to support the 2011 Burmese democratic reforms.

Hillary’s last day as the Secretary of State for the United States government was on February 1 2013, and became a fully private citizen for the first time in thirty years. She wishes to stick to her philanthropic ventures, public speaking and writing more on her biography.

The world needs more women with her drive and intelligence. Makes me wonder if she’d take another swing at being the first American female President.

Soucre: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillary_Rodham_Clinton

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