Minky Worden

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Minky Worden is an American human rights advocate and author. She serves as Director of Global Initiatives[1] at Human Rights Watch.[2] Worden is also Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Social Affairs[3] since 2013.

Early life and education[edit][edit]

A native of Tennessee, Worden is a graduate of Vanderbilt University where she majored in Political Science, German and History. Worden speaks Cantonese and German.[1]


Worden joined Human Rights Watch in 1998.[1] As Human Rights Watch's Director of Global Initiatives, she develops and implements international outreach and advocacy campaigns. She previously served as Human Rights Watch's Media Director, working with the world’s journalists to help them cover crises, wars, human rights abuses and political developments in some 90 countries worldwide.[1] Worden speaks and writes extensively on the topics of political prisoners, women’s rights, and human rights and sports.

Before that, she lived and worked in Hong Kong as an adviser to Democratic Party of Hong Kong chairman Martin Lee and worked at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., as a speechwriter for U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and in the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys.[1]

Worden is editor of China's Great Leap: The Beijing Games and Olympian Human Rights Challenges (Seven Stories Press, 2008) and The Unfinished Revolution: Voices from the Global Fight for Women's Rights (Seven Stories Press, 2012) and co-editor with Kenneth Roth and Amy Bernstein of Torture: Does It Make Us Safer? Is It Ever OK?: A Human Rights Perspective (The New Press, 2005).[4]


The Unfinished Revolution: Voices from the Global Fight for Women's Rights (Seven Stories Press, 2012)

Foreword by Christiane Amanpour. This book outlines the global challenge to secure basic rights for women and girls. Writers from around the world tackle some of the toughest questions about improving the lives of women, and explain why we need fresh approaches for the most vexing and durable abuses.

China's Great Leap: The Beijing Games and Olympian Human Rights Challenges (Seven Stories Press, 2008)

Foreword by Nicholas Kristof. China's Great Leap examines three decades of reform in the People's Republic of China in the context of the 2008 Olympic Games. With contributions from Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo and other reformists, the book spotlights key areas for human rights reform that could represent a possible great leap forward for the people of China.

Torture (The New Press, 2005)

The question of cruel and unusual treatment has taken on new urgency in the United States and around the world. Torture features twelve essays by leading thinkers and experts ranging over history and continents, offering a nuanced, up-to-the-minute exploration of this wrenching topic.


Worden has written dozens of articles for news outlets, including:

  • Saudi Sports Reforms Give Girls in the Kingdom a Running Start.[5] The New York Times. September 7, 2017.
  • She Conquered Everest: Now She's Tackling Laws That Keep Women Out of Sport.[6] CNN. May 11, 2017.
  • Beach Volleyball and Women's Rights in Iran?[7] CNN. February 4, 2016.
  • Human Rights and the 2022 Olympics.[8] The New York Times. January 19, 2015.
  • Raising the Bar: Mega-Sporting Events and Human Rights.[9] Human Rights Watch World Report 2015.
  • Minky Worden: Russia's Anti-Gay Laws Threaten the Olympics' Character. The Washington Post. November 22, 2013.[10]
  • The Olympics’ Leadership Mess.[11] The New York Times. August 8, 2013.
  • In Saudi Arabia, Women Are Confined by Technology.[12] The Washington Post. December 24, 2012.
  • The View From the Empire State Building.[13] MSNBC. October 20, 2003.
  • Hong Kong's Brave Struggle for Democracy. The Asian Wall Street Journal. July 2, 1998.

Media Interviews and Testimonies[edit]

  • Moving the Ball on Human Rights and Mega-Sporting Events[14] (Play the Game Conference, 2017)
  • From Saudis to Soccer, Women Make Strides at Summer Olympics, But Are They Pawns of Backward IOC? (Democracy Now with Amy Goodman, August 20, 2012)[15]
  • Talking Trust Women: Minky Worden on Challenges for Women's Rights (Thomson Reuters, 2012)[16]
  • Sport and Human Rights on the Occasion of the Olympic Games in Rio (European Parliament Testimony, 2016)[17]
  • Stop Sidelining Women in Iran (Human Rights Watch, 2015)[18]
  • Human Rights and Religious Freedom (United States Congress, June 20, 2005)[19]

Boards of Directors[edit]

Memberships and Affiliations[edit]


Worden is married to L.Gordon Crovitz, a media executive and advisor to media and technology companies who is a former publisher of The Wall Street Journal. They have three sons.[20] At age 50, she completed her first Olympic triathlon.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Minky Worden". Human Rights Watch. 2008-06-24. Retrieved 2017-10-07. 
  2. ^ Worden, Minky (October 23, 2009). "What an Olympic glow can't mask". The Washington Post. Retrieved 9 October 2010. 
  3. ^ "Mary S. Worden | Columbia | SIPA". sipa.columbia.edu. Retrieved 2017-10-07. 
  4. ^ Morrow, Lance (January 29, 2006). "Necessity or Atrocity?". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ "Saudi sports reforms give girls in the kingdom a running start". Women in the World in Association with The New York Times - WITW. 2017-09-07. Retrieved 2017-10-07. 
  6. ^ Garcia, Ahiza. "She conquered Everest. Now she's tackling Saudi laws that keep women out of sports". CNNMoney. Retrieved 2017-10-07. 
  7. ^ Worden, Minky. "Beach volleyball and women's rights in Iran? - CNN". CNN. Retrieved 2017-10-07. 
  8. ^ Worden, Minky (2015). "Opinion | Human Rights and the 2022 Olympics". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-10-07. 
  9. ^ "Raising the Bar". Human Rights Watch. 2015-01-26. Retrieved 2017-10-07. 
  10. ^ "Minky Worden: Russia's anti-gay laws threaten the Olympics' character". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-10-07. 
  11. ^ Worden, Minky (2013-08-12). "Opinion | The Olympics' Leadership Mess". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-10-07. 
  12. ^ "In Saudi Arabia, women are confined by technology". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-10-07. 
  13. ^ "The View from the Empire State Building". msnbc.com. 2001-10-20. Retrieved 2017-10-07. 
  14. ^ Play the Game (2017-11-28), Play the Game 2017 - Sustainable mega-events: A distant dream?, retrieved 2017-12-05 ; Minky Worden remarks begin at 1 hr 26 min and panel discussion at 1 hr 58 min.
  15. ^ "From Saudis to Soccer, Women Make Strides at Summer Olympics, But Are They Pawns of Backward IOC?". Democracy Now!. Retrieved 2017-10-07. 
  16. ^ Foundation, Thomson Reuters (2012-06-08), TALKING TRUST WOMEN | Minky Worden on challenges for women’s rights, retrieved 2017-10-07 
  17. ^ "Video testimony at European Parliament hearing on sports and human rights". Human Rights Watch. 2016-07-12. Retrieved 2017-10-07. 
  18. ^ HumanRightsWatch (2015-10-29), Stop Sidelining Women in Iran, retrieved 2017-10-07 
  19. ^ "Human Rights Religious Freedom, Jun 20 2005 | Video | C-SPAN.org". C-SPAN.org. Retrieved 2017-10-07. 
  20. ^ "L. Gordon Crovitz: Publisher of the Wall Street Journal". ScribeMedia.org. 2006-11-21. Retrieved 2009-04-16.