Program Specialist - Women's Rights Program

Open Society Foundations
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Early Career / Mid Career
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    Nov 20

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 Program Specialist is a professional program role at the WRP, performing a wide range of responsibilities that materially advance both portfolio and program strategies.  The Program Specialist plays an important role in our grant making activities, developing relationships with our partners in the field and providing crucial programmatic support to our Program Officers.  The Specialist develops expertise in one or more of the categories of work, as well as providing ongoing analysis of women’s rights region as a whole.

The Program Specialist will conduct background research on existing and potential grantees, the assessment of grants and portfolios, designing research initiatives, , and contribute to written work products, including but not limited to blog posts, publications, internal memoranda, and terms of references for consultants.  Program Specialists may also take the lead on projects or issues – such as research initiatives, convenings, or advocacy efforts – as assigned. 

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

  • support the program by conducting a wide range of activities related to the grant making process, including analytical work in support of field development, advocacy, and projects
  • contribute to assessment of organizations.  This includes responsibility for the assessment of organizational finances and budgets (including grant budgets)
  • conduct research and synthesize large amounts of data/information to be used in decision-making, strategy development, and evaluation of the grants portfolio or other program processes
  • contribute to the preparation of grant portfolio reviews
  • partner closely with program administration staff to ensure the efficient flow of grants processing, including seeing grants through compliance and approval
  • assist in developing the concept, agenda, key players, etc. for convenings, research initiatives, and advocacy efforts with Program Officers on their assigned areas of work
  • edit documents for content and grammar, as needed
  • assist with translation as able and necessary
  • travel to meet with new and existing partners, and to attend relevant conferences and convenings
  • may be asked to take on administrative responsibilities or projects on an ad-hoc basis. These may include processing grants, developing tools and templates, coordinating event logistics, and processing vendor contracts and consultancy agreements.

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.


Candidate Profile

  • bachelor’s degree and three to five years of relevant experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • demonstrated understanding of the most pertinent challenges and opportunities for civil society in women’s rights
  • strong research and analytical skills; ability to process large amounts of information and analyze its importance in informing OSF programs and strategies
  • ability to quickly navigate and decipher internal policies and external constraints as they relate to the WRP’s activities
  • ability to exercise sound professional judgment on issues of sensitivity
  • excellent technological skills, including digital communications security
  • demonstrates consistent respect for others’ opinions, listen well, and respond to colleagues with awareness and sensitivity to cultural communication differences.
  • diplomatic, discreet, able to handle confidential matters with a high level of integrity.
  • well-developed emotional intelligence, including self-awareness, self-management, and empathy.
  • collaborative; able to work productively as a member of a team.
  • organized; strong project management ability; self-directed and self-motivated on work initiatives; strong attention to detail.
  • flexible and willingness to work simultaneously on a wide range of tasks and projects and ability to prioritize tasks; ability to manage competing priorities and deadlines.
  • strong commitment to open society values of rights, justice, accountable governance, human dignity, and democratic practice.
  • strong commitment to inclusion and respect for all colleagues regardless of identity or seniority.
  • excellent written and spoken communication in English; additional language skills in either Spanish, Portuguese, Swahili, or Tagalog strongly preferred.
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