As a senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, Ellen Chesler writes about women’s rights and human rights-—a prominent legacy of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. In 2014, she organized a conference on the global status of women and girls, gathering 67 prominent women leaders from 30 countries. With co-editor Terry McGovern, she then published the anthology Women and Girls Rising: Progress and Resistance around the World (2015). Chesler is author of the critically celebrated Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America (1992, 2007) and co-editor with Wendy Chavkin, MD of Where Human Rights Begin: Health, Sexuality, and Women in the New Millennium (2005). She has written numerous essays and articles in academic and policy anthologies and for major newspapers, periodicals, and blogs.
Prior to coming to Roosevelt, she worked for many years in philanthropy, most prominently as a program director at the Open Society Foundations. Early in her career, she served as chief of staff for New York City Council President Carol Bellamy, the first woman elected to city or statewide office in New York. She has taught courses in history and public policy at Hunter College/CUNY and at Barnard College. She is a graduate of Vassar College and holds a PhD in American history from Columbia University.