HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy
Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights, Global Affairs and Philosophy


“I want to be remembered as a woman … who dared to be a catalyst of change.” - Shirley Chisholm In 1972, Shirley Chisholm made history as the first African American woman to seek a nomination from a major political party as a candidate for President of the United States. Prior to her campaign, Chisholm served in the House of Representatives for seven terms, co-founded the National Women’s Political Caucus, served on the House Rules Committee, and introduced more than 50 pieces of legislation. Despite those accomplishments, her presidential campaign was marked by discrimination, as she was barred from participating in primary debates, and was allowed to make a single televised speech only after she took legal action. While Chisholm’s presidential campaign was ultimately unsuccessful, she nevertheless opened up many doors for women in politics, and in equal rights more broadly. Since then, women have been appointed to the Supreme Court, led major House and Senate committees, and served as Secretary of State. This issue of the Reimagining Rights and Responsibilities series analyzes the current state of women’s rights in the U.S., and proposes policy recommendations designed to advance them. The paper examines how identity influences women’s experiences and provides historical context on women’s rights; assesses the current state of women’s rights in the areas of employment, education, poverty, domestic violence, health, and civil society; and offers policy recommendations that are designed to advance women’s rights moving forward.


Shattuck, John, and Mathias Risse. "Reimagining Rights and Responsibilities in the United States: Women's Rights." Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, January 4, 2020.