New MAKER: Charlotte Bunch


Charlotte Bunch asks: “What is the separation between human rights and women’s rights that is holding women back at this point?”


The connection between women’s rights and human rights might now seem obvious to most, but it was a radical idea when first proposed by feminists and activists like Charlotte Bunch in the 1970s and 80s. Bunch claims that this theory cannot be attributed to herself alone,  “I’m sure there were women who tried to say that women’s rights were human rights in the 1970s in some form…but the work had to be done and the moment had to come.” In spite of this, Bunch is often credited with the work leading up to Hillary Clinton’s 1995 speech at the U.N. Women’s Conference in Beijing when she famously proclaimed that “women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights, once and for all.”


By the time she wrote her seminal essay “Women’s Rights as Human Rights: Toward a Re-Vision of Human Rights” in 1990, Bunch was already leading women’s rights organizers and activists throughout America. In 1989 she founded the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University, an academic center and non-governmental organization that works with the United Nations to advocate for and develop policies to promote women’s human rights and international social justice.


Find out more about Charlotte Bunch by visiting her profile. See how her involvement in the civil rights movement during the 1960s led to her theories on women’s rights, and what she feels are the core principles of feminism