Christian Nunes and NOW: Intersectional Feminism

March 29, 2024

Feminism cannot exist without intersectionality. If we are not taking into consideration the multiple identities that one can possess and how some identities are politicized and targeted more than others, our advocacy is at risk of becoming performative. President of the National Organization for Women (NOW) Christian F. Nunes, MBA, MS, LCSW, shares that her “goal is to make NOW a vessel for intersectionality at every level” as she tackles issues of race and reproductive rights, voting rights, and the housing crisis, just to name a few.  

Nunes received her bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) from Northern Arizona University, her Master of Science from Columbia School of Social Work, and her Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Phoenix. A social worker at heart, her commitment to advocacy and social justice stretches far beyond her time at NOW. Starting her career as a therapist and clinical case manager, Nunes founded her own behavioral health and consulting practice, Wholistic Counseling and Wellness Alternatives, LLC (WCWA). For almost two decades, she assisted social service companies with various programming and provided direct mental health services to individuals and families. She shares that her experience in private practice has allowed her to become “a better activist and advocate, as well as understand the pieces that are often missing in policy and legislation.” 

Having multiple areas of expertise throughout her career, Nunes has played an integral role in drafting policy positions with local and national coalition partners. Through a recent collaboration with the National Coalition for the Homeless, she drafted legislation to provide housing, childcare, and supportive services for homeless women and girls. She has chaired the Mayor’s Commission on Disability Issues, co-authored a community survey on police responses to crises, and has been extremely active in both the March for Black Women and Women’s March campaign/events. 

Nunes’ leadership at NOW has been nothing short of extraordinary. At the height of a global pandemic in August 2020, she became the second African American president in the organization’s history, the youngest person of color to serve as president, and the youngest president in over 40 years. She has launched key initiatives such as the Unlock the Future Campaign which fiercely advocates for humane treatment of women and girls in immigrant families, many of them seeking refuge from sexual violence and poverty. Further, she launched NOW’s Racial Justice Summit in 2020, an event that fosters dialogue between prominent thought leaders, members of Congress, and stakeholders of all different backgrounds. She also originated the 100 days of the Feminist Agenda Campaign in partnership with Black Women’s Blueprint, a listening and discussion series focused on healing from centuries of oppression.

Nunes’ influence can be seen in prominent media outlets such as Forbes, The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN, and many more. Earlier this month, CSSW had the privilege of welcoming Nunes back to her alma mater to lead an enlightening webinar titled, Empowering Change: The Transformative Impact of Integrating Person-Centered and Trauma-Informed Approach into Legislation (recording coming soon). We are perpetually grateful for her guidance and the brilliant work she has done to advance the field of social work and ensure that we are all leading with intersectionality in our activism.