The Center for Women's Global Leadership (CWGL) was founded by feminist activist Charlotte Bunch as a project of Douglass College in 1989. CWGL is affiliated with the School of Arts and Sciences, at Rutgers University. It is also part of the Office of International Programs and a member of the Institute for Women's Leadership (IWL) that connects sister institutes and centers that are committed to the progress of women at the university.
CWGL has been instrumental in fostering women's leadership in the area of human rights through leadership institutes, international mobilization campaigns, including the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, strategic planning activities, United Nations monitoring and advocacy, publications and development of a resource center. The Center has trained a generation of women leaders from all regions of the world to use the human rights framework to achieve strategic objectives.
The global women's movement is a significant force in international policy arenas, bringing women's experiences and feminist analyses to issues such as development, peace, health, the environment, gender equality and human rights. Recognition of the importance of women's rights as human rights and of the seriousness of the abuses experienced by women and girls worldwide has been a central component. Within this context, CWGL has been a central player in the transformative endeavor of demanding respect for the rights of all women.
Under the leadership of Radhika Balakrishnan, who assumed the post of executive director in 2009, CWGL expanded its programming to include a focus on economic rights and justice from a feminist perspective, including work to facilitate and disseminate feminist analyses of economic and social rights and macroeconomic policies to better inform the work of civil society organizations and policymakers at the international and national levels. CWGL is viewed as a leading feminist institution engaged in economic and social justice work and has, as a result, gained entry into a dynamic and unfolding dialogue extending from the grassroots, to the academy, up to the highest levels of the United Nations. In 2015, Radhika Balakrishnan transitioned to the role of Faculty Director and CWGL welcomed Krishanti Dharmaraj as Executive Director.