Director, Women's Rights Program

Open Society Foundations
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    Feb 07

Position description

The Women’s Rights Program (WRP) supports efforts to: (a) strengthen women’s rights organizations and movements; (b) advance sexual and reproductive rights and justice, specifically by linking attacks on these rights to broader challenges of closing civic space; and (c) promote economic justice, with a focus on mobilizing the political power of women in the informal sector. Through an intersectional approach, using grant-making, advocacy, capacity and coalition building, and organizing meetings and exchanges the WRP works to improve the lives of women globally by advancing equality and participation in decision making.

The WRP’s approach is premised upon the understanding that while threats to open society have an outsized impact on women, women also play a leading role in resisting threats and advancing alternatives toward more open societies. As a thematic program operating within the Open Society Foundations (OSF) global network, the program is able to fund bold experimentation at the national, regional, and international levels. It is working to become a leading contributor to cross-movement, cross-border resistance to reactionary illiberal agendas.
Job Profile
WRP’s director leads a team of professionals based in New York. The current strategic plan includes three portfolios of work in varying degrees of development in the areas of economic justice, sexual and reproductive rights, and strengthening women’s organizations and movements. The director will be expected to guide and grow these areas of work or engage in new ones as the needs in the field develop. The ability to clearly articulate the program’s vision and role within the OSF network is critical, as is playing a leadership role across the organization’s substantial body of work on issues relevant to women’s rights.

The successful candidate will be a respected and experienced participant in one or more branches of the women’s rights movement. The director is expected to remain up-to-date on the trends, debates, and innovations relevant to the field, and maintain familiarity with the individuals and organizations that play significant roles in the field.

The director is the principal strategist on women’s rights for the OSF Network, articulating the goals and crafting strategies of the global program and serving as a resource to those designing and implementing the strategies of the national and regional foundations and the various geographic programs in the network. That role necessarily entails collaboration with colleagues and partners inside and outside OSF—especially with the program’s Advisory Board—and approval of those goals and strategies by the Foundation’s president and OSF’s Global Board.

The director must be a skilled manager and team leader and is expected to provide effective supervision of program staff members, including attending to individual performance and professional development, and engaging in recruitment and mentoring as needed. The director is also in charge of recruiting for, and building constructive relationships with, the chair and the members of the program’s Advisory Board.

The strategic and management role of a program director requires constructive participation in OSF’s network as a whole, including effective collaboration with other thematic and geographic programs, foundations, and the many other departments, units, boards and entities within OSF. The director will be called upon from time to time to participate in working groups and discussions on topics other than women’s rights related to the OSF network.

The Program Director’s role includes the following activities:
  • oversees grant-making activities related to portfolios of work focusing on women’s rights, authorizing/declining grants within an approved budget, and in line with an approved strategy
  • provides leadership, development and guidance to a team of four Program Officers and two Program Staff based in New York
  • builds collaborative relationships within and outside OSF (e.g., with existing grantees, prospective grantees, experts in the community) that advance the rights of women
  • leads in the development of program strategy and program design
  • works in close collaboration with other relevant OSF staff to support the work of organizations and activists that seek to advance the rights of women.
  • strengthens 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
  • champions women’s rights and women’s issues through a presence in the public sphere
Candidate Profile
  • bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of study or equivalent experience/education and in excess of 15 years’ progressively responsible experience in challenging barriers to gender equity
  • deep expertise in the field of women’s rights and familiarity with trends, challenges and opportunities in the field
  • demonstrated experience building and managing successful programs and teams
  • experience working in the field of women’s rights or in another field with a focus or intersection with women’s rights with demonstrated success in advancing support for the rights of women

(work experience/familiarity with advocacy, systemic change)
  • experience working with civil society preferably using advocacy to affect systemic change
  • comprehensive understanding of the structure and workings of both formal and informal organizations (NGO/non-profit organizations), networks, and movements within varied contexts
  • deep understanding of and vision for change based on experience and knowledge, and ability to use that understanding to develop and implement a strategy for achieving the vision
  • knowledge of philanthropy and grant making and demonstrated interest in using grant making in combination with other tactics to effect social change
  • experience with Board recruitment and management

(interpersonal skills/work competencies)
  • humility, willingness to listen and learn in the company of advocates of all levels from grassroots and youth organizers to world renowned experts
  • ability to build collaborative relationships – in OSF, peer foundations, and with grant seekers and grantees, and others in the field – to further programmatic goals
  • excellent writing, analytical, interpersonal, organizational and communication skills with sensitivity to cultural communication differences
  • ability to work effectively in a highly collaborative environment and as a member of a high level management team
  • ability to exercise measured and appropriate judgment, flexibility and willingness to work simultaneously on a wide range of tasks and projects

(other requirements)
  • ability to travel internationally up to 30% of the time and managing relationships and program work across time zones
  • excellent English language skills with additional languages strongly preferred
  • knowledge of regional and international human rights institutions and mechanisms preferred
  • experience living and working internationally, in Asia, Africa and/or Latin America preferred

Application Instructions: Please upload a cover letter and resume as one document when submitting an application.

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 fulfil the essential functions of the job.

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