For the entirety of her professional career, Sharon Camp has been a central global figure in the movement to expand contraceptive access to women everywhere and to address the impact of demographic trends on society and the natural environment. Population Action International salutes her on her latest transition and applauds her exemplary stewardship of the Guttmacher Institute over the last decade.
The PAI Board of Directors and staff—past and present—are proud of our long association with Sharon and still consider her one of us. PAI, back when it was still called the Population Crisis Committee, provided Sharon with her first opportunity to demonstrate her myriad talents in the areas of advocacy, analysis, and communication.
Utilizing her keen intellect and skill at persuasion and relationship-building, Sharon became the most influential lobbyist for the U.S. government’s international family planning and reproductive health program in Washington from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s as our Director of Education and Public Policy and Senior Vice President.
Back in the days of when male voices dominated, Sharon was a pioneer for women in the field, elevating women’s health and rights as both means to an end and ends in themselves. Her largely unpublicized role in drafting what became the Programme of Action for the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development was an important highlight in her unwavering promotion of women’s health and rights throughout her entire career.
Upon leaving PAI, Sharon ventured into the corporate world in order to develop and bring to the U.S. market a dedicated emergency contraceptive product. The Women’s Capital Corporation, a small pharmaceutical company she founded with other women’s health professionals, successfully gained FDA approval of Plan B®, a levonorgestral emergency contraceptive pill, in 1999.
Upon joining the Guttmacher Institute in 2003, PAI’s longstanding close ties with our Guttmacher colleagues were only strengthened and the two teams of professionals rely on one another for partnership, collaboration and strategic insight in a way that is all too uncommon in a world of competition for funding and visibility.
Despite her retirement from the day-to-day running of an organization, it is our sincerest hope that the family planning and women’s health community can continue to rely on and benefit from Sharon’s vast experience, steadfast dedication, and extraordinary vision in the years ahead.