Childhood Career Ambitions: Missionary
First Paying Job: Sales clerk at a five and dime store
Historical Inspiration: Jane Adams
Three Words to Describe Herself: Activist, strategist, and organizer
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.