In 1971 she joined the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), of which she became Executive Director in 1987. In 2003 Dr. Sadik was designated as UNFPA’s Goodwill Ambassador for Obstetric Fistula. She served as a member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change.
As one of the first highest ranking women in the UN system and Secretary General of the landmark International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo in 1994, she is well-known for her leadership in the fields of international maternal and child health, and reproductive and sexual health. Her many international awards include Laureate of the United Nations Population Award 2001, and the Order of Merit decreed by President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt.
She is the recipient of honorary degrees from United States universities such as Johns Hopkins, Brown, Duke, Michigan and Claremont, as well as from Wilfrid University (Canada), Nihon University (Japan), and the University of the West Indies-Mona (Jamaica).
Dr. Sadik participates as a member of numerous foundation boards and has authored many publications in the areas of reproductive health and family, population and development, women, and gender and development.