MacArthur Fellows Program

Dorothy Quincy Thomas

Human Rights Leader | Class of 1998

Human Rights Leader
San Francisco, California
39 at time of award
Published July 1, 1998

About Dorothy's Work

Dorothy Thomas is a human rights advocate and a leader in the international movement for women’s rights.

As the former director of the Women’s Rights Project of the Human Rights Watch in New York (1990-1998), Thomas applied the fact-finding and advocacy tools of the international human rights movement to the task of documenting violations of women’s rights. She has played a pioneering role in redefining international standards for human rights and has made abuses against women, including domestic violence, a matter of international human rights law. Thomas gave visibility to the plight of women internationally by guiding and conducting field research--demonstrating systematic abuses and portraying the effects of these violations on the lives of women and their communities.


Thomas is an independent human rights consultant whose clients include the Ford and Shaler Adams Foundations. She is the author of several articles and reports on human rights for various publications and institutions and is a member of the U. S. Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Watch and of the International Council on Human Rights Policy.

Thomas received a B.A. (1981) and an M.A. (1983) from Georgetown University and a Certificat de la langue Française (1984) from the Sorbonne in Paris.

Last updated January 1, 2005

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