Judy Gearheart

Judy Gearhart

Senior Researcher, Accountability Research Center

Judy Gearhart is a senior researcher at the Accountability Research Center at American University’s School of International Service where she leads an annual practicum on Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence in the Seafood Industry. She also serves as an adjunct lecturer at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs since 2001, currently co-teaching the course Human Rights and the Politics of Inequality.

Her research focuses on the nexus between workers’ rights and environmental justice and transnational organizing can strengthen the influence of local and national organizers. Gearhart has advocated for workers’ rights in global supply chains since the 1990s when she started as an organizer in Mexico. She has led multiple transnational advocacy campaigns to support workers in apparel, agriculture, and seafood. Her most recent publication is Local Voices, Global Action: Transnational Organizing in Apparel Supply Chains.

Previously, Gearhart served as the executive director at the International Labor Rights Forum and as the program director at Social Accountability International. She has worked for UNICEF and the ILO in Honduras, and for national NGOs in Mexico, Honduras, and France. Gearhart currently serves as the board chair for the Bank Information Center and as the international committee chair for the Child Labor Coalition. Her writing, public speaking and advocacy work has been cited or appeared in major news outlets, including CNN, NPR, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. She earned her master of international affairs at Columbia University with a concentration in human rights and economic development.

Current Projects

• Building Worker Power in Global Supply Chains: Lessons from Apparel, Cocoa, and Seafood

• Worker-driven Solutions for Social Justice in the Seafood Industry


Board Chair for the Bank Information Center

International Committee Chair for the Child Labor Coalition

Steering Committee Member of the Fishery Governance Project

Campaign Ambassador for Freedom United's "Amend the 13th Campaign"

Adjunct Professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs