09 Sep Krishanti Dhamaraj
Krishanti Dharmaraj is a human rights advocate and a practitioner dedicated to realizing safety, equity, and
wellbeing within communities, institutions, cities and the wider world. She works at the intersection of rights,
leadership, and identity to achieve her purpose. She has three decades of experience advocating to
advance women’s human rights at local, national, regional, and global levels.
Ms. Dharmaraj is the founder and principal of the Dignity IndeX, a rights-based methodology and process to
ensure sustainable inclusion, equity, and safety in communities and institutions. She conducts strategy
sessions, training and workshops and lectures and keynotes in the US and internationally. She is faculty at
Glasgow Caledonian New York College’s newly launched M.S. program in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion
Most recently, Ms. Dharmaraj was the executive director of center for Women’s Global Leadership at
Rutgers University where she set strategy and developed a 10-year trajectory to advance women’s rights at
the intersection of human rights, labor and safety, through the eradication of gender-based discrimination
and violence. She co-created the Journalism initiative on gender-based violence (JiG) convening over 100+
journalists from 38 countries; restructured the Feminist Alliance for Rights (FAR) to ensure solidarity of
transnational leadership of feminist from the global south and from marginalized communities of the global
north to influence global policy; established partnerships with labor unions within the US and globally to
ensure collaborations among feminist organizations and labor to address violence and harassment in the
world of work and the impact of Covid-19 on women’s paid and unpaid labor; and established the US Program.
As the founding executive director of Women’s Institute for Leadership Development for Human Rights, Ms.
Dharmaraj co-founded the US Human Rights Network to ensure US government’s accountability to human
rights standards within US borders; led a delegations of women activists to Durban, South Africa for the UN
World Conference on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and related intolerance to ensure that
discrimination and violence at the intersection of race, ethnicity and gender were addressed by governments
and particularly by the US; created a first Young Women’s Rights and Leadership program in the country;
and with her leadership, San Francisco became the first city in the U.S. to pass legislation implementing an
international human rights treaty. As a result of passing CEDAW in San Francisco, the city implemented a
gender analysis in departments that impacted employment, programming and service delivery, and resource
allocation. Currently, this public policy strategy is being implemented in cities across the United States.
Ms. Dharmaraj has received numerous awards for her cutting-edge work and has held leadership positions
at Amnesty International USA, Thousand Currents, Horizons Foundation and Center for Asian Pacific
Women. She holds an MBA from Haas School of Business at University of California, at Berkeley.
Currently Ms. Dharmaraj is a Trustee of THIRST (The International Roundtable for Sustainable Tea),
Executive Committee member of Feminist Alliance for Rights (FAR) and represents the civil society global
reference group at the Governing Board of the Spotlight Initiative, a partnership fund (500 Mil Euros) of
European Union and the United Nations to end violence against women.