Program Officer – Open Society Foundations’ Women’s Rights Program

open_society_foundations_logoThe Open Society Foundations’ Women’s Rights Program seeks a full-time Program Officer to focus on its efforts related to strengthening women’s rights organizations and movements.  The position will be based in the New York office.

The Women’s Rights Program strives to advance the full and equal citizenship of women: participation by women, accountability to women, and autonomy and security for women.  Specifically, the program seeks to advance sexual and reproductive rights, promote economic justice, and strengthen women’s rights organizations and movements in countries and regions where OSF is active.

Job Profile

The program officer is responsible for implementing, monitoring and helping to develop and evaluate the program goal aimed at strengthening women’s rights organizations and movements. This includes carrying out all stages of relevant grant making, managing relationships with other entities including potential and current grantees and other civil society and social change organizations, participating in collaborative decision making both within OSF and with external entities, and monitoring the women’s rights field. The program officer is also responsible for strengthening connections between the Women’s Rights Program and the broader priorities of OSF, and facilitating effective and coordinated engagement of OSF programs in the region.

Under the guidance of the Women’s Rights Program director, the program officer will:

  • be responsible for developing and executing the program’s portfolios aimed at strengthening women’s rights organizations and movements with considerable autonomy to make decisions relating to:
    • authorizing/declining grants within an approved budget
    • analyzing  and assessing institutional strengths and limitations of grantee and prospective grantee organizations
    • providing relevant analysis and feedback to grantees to develop and finalize grant proposals
    • writing up grant recommendations as part of the grant approval process
    • monitoring  grants and maintaining regular contact with grantees, contractors and other stakeholders, including through regular site visits to assess grantee capacity and the progress of grants
  • participate in the development of overall program strategy and conduct research to support program design
  • analyze financial and budget information, including the review and assessment of narrative and financial information of grantees
  • assist in the planning, development and monitoring of the program’s annual budget
  • work with the director to ensure close collaboration with other OSF programs and to identify opportunities for complementary programming where a shared approach might have the potential to create a broader impact
  • in coordination with the director, write occasional blog posts, op-eds, or position papers that offer perspectives or recommendations on issues relevant to the program’s strategy
  • encourage collaboration and strategic alliances among organizations and fields with related goals, constituencies, and interests, cultivating and maintaining institutional relationships with grantees, other donors and allies, and participating in program-related meetings
  • Frequent travel required.


This exciting opportunity is for an experienced professional with substantial knowledge, expertise and programmatic experience in women’s rights, social movements and change.  The successful candidate will have the following:

  • a 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; demonstrated success in advancing social change strategies, including planning and making changes in response to an evolving situation; detailed knowledge of the state of women’s rights in at least two countries where OSF is active is essential; substantial prior work within a civil society organization or government institution addressing women’s rights.
  • strong organizational, analytical and critical thinking skills;  strong project management skills, including the ability to direct others to effectively gather evidence and research to inform decisions or judgments; the proven ability to work independently, with a high-level of self-motivation and ability to set and meet goals; a track record in building effective collaborations across multiple internal and external stakeholders; a proven ability to work effectively in a fluid and fast paced work environment, managing multiple priorities under pressure and accomplish short- and long-term goals with a heavy workload; and a history of being a strong team player.  Broad intellectual curiosity, comfort with robust debate, and a good sense of humor will be valuable.
  • experience in grant making or advocacy, or demonstrated project management experience, including managing consultants and project budgets; familiarity with the issues relating to good grantmaking, including an understanding of the power dynamics in the grantee/grantmaker relationship, and ability to handle this relationship properly and respectfully;
  • excellent writing and editing skills in English (proficiency in other languages will be a great advantage); excellent public speaking and presentation skills; high emotional intelligence, humility and empathy; the ability to relate effectively and inclusively to people across cultures; excellent inter-personal skills, with the diplomatic demeanor and political astuteness necessary to represent a global organization; and a desire for continued professional growth.
  • a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of study or equivalent experience/education; graduate degree strongly preferred; seven to ten years of progressively responsible experience working in a relevant field; or equivalent combination of education, experience and accomplishment.

**Please note that a cover letter and resume are required when submitting an application.

Work Environment and Physical Demands:

Essential functions are typically performed in an office setting with a low level of noise.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

The Open Society Foundations are strengthened profoundly by the diversity of their network and their differences in background, culture, experience, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, and more. They actively seek and welcome applications from people of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, women, LGBTI persons, and persons with disabilities.

Department: Women’s Rights Program
Location: New York, USA
Application Deadline: February 12, 2016

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