MAKERS Profile

Charlotte Bunch

International Women's Rights Activist

In this video

Charlotte Bunch on bringing the understanding that "women's rights are human rights" to the world stage.
Women worldwide, "are routinely subject to torture, starvation, terrorism, humiliation, mutilation, and even murder simply because they are female," wrote Charlotte Bunch in 1990. Against any other group, such crimes "would be recognized as a civil and political emergency…yet despite a clear record of deaths and demonstrable abuse, women's rights are not commonly classified as human rights." By the time she made that basic and chilling observation, Bunch had already logged more than two decades of leadership in the women's movement as a distinguished scholar and writer. She was just getting started.   As founder of the Center for Women's Global Leadership at Rutgers University in 1989, she moved to celebrate the diversity of international cultures and experiences while joining the dire struggles for justice shared by women across the planet. Bunch's analytical and moral clarity electrified the discussion. And when then-First Lady Hillary Clinton hammered home the formulation "women’s rights are human rights" at 1995’s Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, she made Bunch’s insights an international sensation.   Bunch is still fighting — working with the UN and with CWGL, and traveling and speaking on behalf of women everywhere. She’s a recipient of the White House Eleanor Roosevelt Award, a member of the National Women's Hall of Fame and was one of the "1000 Women Peace Makers" nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

More From Charlotte

Changing Our Cultures
Bunch challenges the assertion that violence against women is different than any other violent crime.

Iterations of Violence
Violence against women is everywhere. It just looks different in different countries, including the US.

The UN's Impact
Bunch explains the power of the UN to have an effect on women's rights worldwide and bolster local efforts.

Reclaiming the “F Word”
Bunch discusses what it means that "feminism" has been made a dirty word and what's been lost.

Pro-Life Feminists?
Bunch discusses whether she believes it's possible to be a pro-life feminist.

60s Social Justice
Bunch talks about how the women's movement grew out of the sexism present in the anti-war and Civil Rights movements.

Achieving Recognition
Bunch describes how they first got  "women's rights are human rights"  accepted by the international community and then broadcast worldwide by Hillary Clinton.

Bringing Gay Rights to Feminism
Bunch talks about fighting to bring gay and lesbian issues into the women's movement and the initial rejection she and others faced.

Controlling Sexuality
Bunch explains how feminism and fighting homophobia are linked. 

Male Feminists
Getting men involved in the women's movement and questioning traditional masculinity is critical for change.  

Backlash is inevitable when you challenge the power status quo.