Program Officer - Women's Rights program

Open Society Foundations
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career / Advanced
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    Nov 17

Position description

The Women’s Right Program (WRP) joins advocacy for women’s rights to the broader work of protecting and promoting open society. WRP seeks to advance societies where women fully and equally shape, advance and benefit from the guarantees of human rights, democratic and accountable power and justice. We do this by supporting initiatives that contest repressive and discriminatory practices that limit women’s rights and that enable women to define their own vision of their future by exercising collective action without fear. Our principal tools include grantmaking and convenings that collect and connect lessons from veterans of women’s rights to those from other struggles, building just societies and democratic practice across the OSF network.

Job Profile

The Women’s Rights Program seeks a fixed term Program Officer for 12 months to focus on its efforts related to strengthening the ecosystem of women’s rights organizations in order to bolster effective responses to threats to open society that adversely impact women. The position will be based in the New York office.

The Program Officer will help advance the portfolio focusing on supporting a small but critical field of foundational women’s organizations to help women’s rights movements become more resilient and nimble, better connected, and creative. This role will provide continuity during a period of transition in the Women’s Rights Program.

The Program Officer role may include any or all of the following and/or similar activities:

  • responsible for grant-making activities relating to a portfolio of work focusing on supporting a small but critical field of foundational women’s organizations whose work underpins the other portfolios in the Women’s Rights Program strategy, including groups that can connect strong national and single-issue actors with each other and with other social justice movements at the regional and global level and young feminist groups;
  • operates with considerable autonomy and makes decisions related to authorizing/declining grants within an approved budget reflective of own field experience/expertise;
  • builds collaborative relationships within and outside OSF (e.g., with existing grantees, prospective grantees, experts in the community, etc.) that advances connections across the women’s rights movements and with other fields working on open society issues at the global level and in regions of other WRP portfolios.  
  • works in close collaboration with other Women’s Rights Program staff and other relevant Open Society Foundations staff to support the work of organizations and activists that seek to support more effective responses to threats to open society that particularly impact women
  • responsible for strengthening connections between OSF’s geographic and thematic programs consistent with OSF’s broader priorities, identifying opportunities for co-funding and where a shared approach might have the potential to create a broader impact


Candidate Profile

  • bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of study or equivalent experience/education and 7 -10 years of progressively responsible experience, generally in an organization other than a foundation
  • demonstrated experience working in the fields of women’s rights and a strong understanding of the concept of intersectionality; demonstrated commitment to open society values of human rights, transparency and accountability, and democratic governance
  • comprehensive understanding and knowledge of current issues, trends, dynamics and key actors/thought leaders, formal and informal organizations, networks, and movements in women’s rights movements, including young feminist groups
  • detailed knowledge of the state of women’s rights in at least two countries where OSF is active is essential
  • demonstrated success in advancing support for human rights, particularly women’s rights, including planning and implementing modifications in response to an evolving situation. Civil society experience, preferably assisting organizations to think strategically about how to use advocacy and communications strategies to affect systemic change
  • experience working in Asia, Africa, and/or Latin America preferred
  • language skills a plus
  • comprehensive understanding of the structure and workings of both formal and informal organizations (NGO/non-profit organizations), networks, and movements within varied contexts
  • must have ability to exercise measured and appropriate judgment, flexibility and willingness to work simultaneously on a wide range of tasks and projects. Is able to build collaborative relationships – in OSF, peer foundations, and with grant seekers and grantees, and others in the field – to further programmatic goals
  • experience in grant making or advocacy, or demonstrated project management experience, including managing consultants and project budgets; familiarity with the issues surrounding good grantmaking, including an understanding of the power dynamics in the grantee/grantmaker relationship, and ability to handle this relationship properly and respectfully
  • demonstrates excellent writing, analytical, interpersonal, organizational and communication skills with sensitivity to cultural communication differences.  Is able to work effectively in highly collaborative environment and as a member of multiple teams.

Application Instructions:  Please include a cover letter and a resume, and upload these as one document.

We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues across the Open Society Foundations. We welcome applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, and are committed to providing reasonable accommodations so that colleagues with disabilities are able to fulfill the essential functions of the job.

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