Charlotte Bunch

Charlotte Bunch
A photograph of Charlotte Bunch, courtesy of the Center for Women's Global Leadership
Born (1944-10-13) October 13, 1944
North Carolina
Education Duke University

Founding Director and Senior Scholar of the Center for Women's Global Leadership

Board of Governor's Distinguished Service Professor in Women's and Gender Studies


Known for Founding the Center for Women's Global Leadership
Notable work Passionate Politics: Feminist Theory in Action, Class and Feminism, Gender Violence: A Development and Human Rights Issue, Demanding Accountability: The Global Campaign and Vienna Tribunal for Women's Human Rights

Awards include:

"Feminist of the Year Award" to the Center for Women's Global Leadership by the Feminist Majority Foundation (1993)

Induction into the National Women's Hall of Fame (1996)

"Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights" President Bill Clinton (1999)

"21 Leaders for the 21st Century" Women's Enews (2002)

"Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor Recipient" Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (2002)

"New Jersey Honorary United Nations Day Chair" Appointed by the Governor of New Jersey (2004)

"Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws" University of Connecticut (2007)

"Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award" Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders (SAGE) (2008)

Charlotte Bunch (born October 13, 1944) is an American feminist author and organizer in women's rights and human rights movements.[1][2][3] Bunch is currently the founding director and senior scholar at the Center for Women's Global Leadership at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She is also a distinguished professor in the Department of Women's and Gender Studies at Rutgers.[4]


Bunch, one of four children to Charles Pardue Bunch and Marjorie Adelaide (King) Bunch, was born in West Jefferson, North Carolina. That same year, her family moved to Artesia, New Mexico. She attended public schools in Artesia before enrolling at Duke University in 1962.[5]

She was a history major at Duke and graduated magna cum laude in 1966, and was involved with many groups such as the Young Women's Christian Association and the Methodist Student Movement.[6] Bunch has said that she participated in "pray-ins" organized by the Methodist Student Movement at Duke University, but later took a "break" from Christianity because of the homophobia within the religion.[7]

She has been extremely active in political movements for decades and is openly lesbian. She found inspiration for being a women's and human rights activist through her family's dedication to "activism as good works."[8]


Shortly after graduating from Duke University, Bunch became a youth delegate to the World Council of Churches Conference on Church and Society in Geneva, Switzerland. That same year she became president of the University Christian Movement in Washington D.C. for one year.

Following this position, Bunch became a Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C., and she founded the Washington D.C. publications, Women's Liberation and Quest: A Feminist Quarterly.[9]

Through inspiration from Black Nationalism, Bunch took part in founding The Furies Collective, a group that published its first newspaper, The Furies, in January 1972. The goal was to give a voice to lesbian separatism.[10] While the collective only survived for about one year, the home of the Furies Collective later was named the first lesbian-related historic landmark in Washington D.C., and became the first lesbian site on the National Register of Historic Places.

Bunch participated in or facilitated numerous international workshops and conferences, and from 1979 to 1980 she was a consultant to the secretariat for the World Conference for the United Nations Decade on Women.[11]

In 1989, she founded the Center for Women's Global Leadership at Douglass College, Rutgers University, of which she remains the founding director and senior scholar. She was succeeded as executive director by Radhika Balakrishnan in September 2009.[12]

The Center for Women's Global Leadership (CWGL) lobbied the United Nations and the international community to view women's rights as a human rights issue. CWGL is a component of the Gender Equality Architecture Reform (GEAR) Campaign, working towards the establishment of a new United Nations Gender Entity that works for equality for all of the world's women. Bunch has been a major voice for this campaign.[13][14] The gender entity was finally created after four years of advocacy on July 2, 2010, and deemed UN Women.[15]

At its 20th Anniversary Symposium on March 6, 2010,[16][17] following panel discussions on body, economy, and movement, CWGL organized a tribute[18] to its founder, Charlotte Bunch,[19] who transitioned on September 1, 2009 from her role as executive director to working with CWGL in her new capacity as founding director and senior scholar. Attendees watched a short preview of the then-upcoming documentary film Passionate Politics: The Life & Work of Charlotte Bunch (2011), directed by Tami Gold, which chronicles Bunch’s lifelong personal and political commitment to women’s human rights.[20]

The Center for Women's Global Leadership launched the Charlotte Bunch Women's Human Rights Strategic Opportunities Fund in recognition of her contributions to the global women's human rights movement.[21]

She has served on the boards of numerous organizations and is currently a member of the Advisory Committee for the Human Rights Watch Women's Rights Division, and on the boards of the Global Fund for Women and the International Council on Human Rights Policy.[22][23] She has been a consultant to many United Nations bodies and recently served on the Advisory Committee for the Secretary General's 2006 Report to the General Assembly on Violence against Women.[24]

Awards and Recognition

In October 1996, Bunch was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.[25] In December 1999 she was selected by United States President Bill Clinton as a recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights. She received the "Women Who Make a Difference Award" from the National Council for Research on Women in 2000, and was honored as one of the "21 Leaders for the 21st Century" by Women's eNews in 2002, and also received the "Board of Trustees Awards for Excellence in Research" in 2006 at Rutgers University.[26]

Bunch in 2011

List of Awards, Fellowships and Grants

Works and Publications

Bunch has written and edited many pieces of work, which focus on women's rights and human rights. The papers of Charlotte Bunch can be found at the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute.[28][29]

A full list of her publications can be found here.


(This list is only a few of her published titles.)


(This list is only a select number of more than 250 published articles.)


  1. "Legendary Women of Causes, Charlotte Bunch Profile". October 13, 1944. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  2. Gross, Jane (May 31, 2000). "Charlotte Bunch, NYTimes Profile". Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  3. "Charlotte Bunch Staff Profile, Center for Women's Global Leadership". Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  4. "Center for Women's Global Leadership".
  5. "Harvard University Library".
  6. "Harvard Library".
  7. "Films for the Feminist Classroom".
  8. "Films for the Feminist Classroom".
  9. "Entry on Bunch in the Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture". October 13, 1944. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  10. "Films for the Feminist Classroom".
  11. "Harvard Library".
  12. "Introductory Letter from Radhika Balakrishnan, New CWGL Executive Director" (PDF). Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  13. "Bunch's June 14, 2010 statements at the UN on behalf of the GEAR Campaign" (PDF). Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  14. "Reflections on the 54th CSW and GEAR". Global Fund for Women. Archived from the original on June 11, 2010. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  15. MacFarquhar, Neil (July 2, 2010). "A U.N. Agency for Women? Yes! But Those Names...". The New York Times. Retrieved June 11, 2012.
  16. "Program Highlights, Including a short description of the Symposium and Bunch Tribute". Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  17. "See Page 74 of this 148-page CSW 54 Handbook put out by the NGO Committee to the CSW for a one-page flyer for the CWGL Symposium Beijing +15 Parallel Event" (PDF). Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  18. "NCRW Hosts Article from SAGE Magazine | May 2010 about Charlotte Bunch, including a mention of the March Tribute". Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  19. "Podcast of the tribute to Charlotte Bunch at the 20th Anniversary Symposium" (MP3). Retrieved June 11, 2012.
  20. "Passionate Politics: The Life & Work of Charlotte Bunch". Retrieved October 7, 2012.
  21. "Charlotte Bunch Women's Human Rights Strategic Opportunities Fund Launched" (PDF). Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  22. "ICHRP Homepage". Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  23. "Former Council and Board Members ICHRP List, Including Charlotte Bunch". Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  24. Danne Polk. "Charlotte Bunch biography on's A Legacy of Names". Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  25. "National Women's Hall of Fame, Charlotte Bunch Profile". Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  26. "Charlotte Bunch Awards List". Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  27. "Rutgers University Department of Women's and Gender Studies".
  28. "Charlotte Bunch's Papers, 1967–1985". October 13, 1944. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  29. "Charlotte Bunch's Papers, 1950–1988". Retrieved July 18, 2010.


Further reading

External links

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