Senior Program Officer

The Women’s Rights Program aims to promote open societies where women control their own bodies, choices and lives; participate freely in political, community and family life; play integral economic roles in local and global marketplaces; and be able to advance their rights in systems of justice. The program pursues three goals: (1) to strengthen women’s rights organizations and movements in countries and regions where Open Society is active; (2) to promote economic justice for women; and (3) to combat policies and practices that undermine the physical safety of women and the enjoyment of their sexual and reproductive rights. A full strategic plan will be presented to the Global Board of the Open Society Foundations in 2015.

The full-time senior program officer will be based in New York and will be supervised by the director of the Women’s Rights Program.

Open Society Foundations

The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to criticism, whose laws and policies are open to debate and correction, and whose political institutions are open to the participation of all people. We seek to strengthen justice and the rule of law; broaden respect for human rights, including the rights of minorities; encourage pluralism and a robust diversity of opinion; deepen democratic practice and participation; expand economic equity; support effective governance; and invest in individuals, public and private organizations, and social movements that advance these goals.

We are a global network of foundations committed to local knowledge and national expertise. Our network includes national foundations, regional foundations, and other geographic programs operating in more than one hundred countries. At the same time, many programs with global reach operate from our four headquarters in Europe and the United States, including programs on digital information, documentary photography, drug policy, early childhood, education, fellowships, fiscal governance, higher education, human rights, international migration, justice, public health, scholarships, think tanks, and women’s rights. In addition to making grants to organizations and individuals, the Open Society Foundations engage in policy advocacy, legal advocacy and litigation, program-related investing, and public communications, as well as providing direct assistance to governments. Most programs and foundations in the network are governed or advised by their own boards.

The Open Society Foundations are the global philanthropies of George Soros, who, as chairman, plays an active role in the work of the foundations. 

Job Profile

The senior program officer will focus on strategy development, grantmaking, and operational efforts to strengthen women’s organizations and movements and promote economic justice for women. The senior program officer will play a key role in developing the strategy in those areas; keep track of the fields, identifying opportunities for funding and other engagement with partners; support other program staff in contributing to learning and innovation in the field, including through documentation and other operational activities; and represent the program externally. Work is carried out independently/under general supervision. Additional responsibilities include the following:

Program-Related Functions

  • Develop and implement a grantmaking and operational strategy aimed at strengthening women’s organizations and movements and promoting economic justice for women;
  • Write strategy/position papers that provide insight on policy issues impacting the field and/or offer suggestions about field building and strategic project development;
  • Work with the director to ensure close collaboration with other programs across the Open Society Foundations network;
  • Establish strategic relationships with other philanthropic partners and NGOs and identify joint programming opportunities;
  • Collaborate with grantees, philanthropic partners, and other field professionals and participate in program- and field-related meetings and convenings;
  • Invite grant proposals from selected funding applicants and work with applicants to develop and finalize grant proposals;
  • Review grant proposals and write grant recommendations;
  • Review and assess letters of inquiry and make funding recommendations and declinations;
  • Monitor grants through site visits and review of narrative and financial reports;
  • Manage financial and budget reports to track grant and program spending;      
  • Supervise program officers, administrative support staff, and consultants, when relevant;
  • Perform occasional special assignments, including participation in foundation task forces and working groups.


  • Extensive travel will be required;
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

This exciting opportunity is for an experienced practitioner and/or grantmaker with substantial knowledge, expertise and programmatic experience in women’s rights and economic justice. 

The successful candidate will have:

  • Strong background in human rights;
  • Substantial knowledge of current practices, trends, and information, and key actors and thought-leaders in women’s rights movements and women’s economic justice;
  • Detailed knowledge of the state of women’s rights in at least two countries where Open Society is active essential;
  • High level of strategic thinking and ability to make good, independent decisions based on analysis, experience, and judgment; 
  • Proven ability to work independently, with a high-level of self-motivation and ability to set and meet goals;
  • Track record in developing and/or strengthening effective collaborations across multiple internal and external stakeholders;
  • Proven ability to work effectively in a fluid and fast-paced work environment, managing multiple priorities under pressure, and to accomplish short- and long- term deadlines with a heavy workload;
  • History of being a strong team player; 
  • Broad intellectual curiosity, comfort with robust debate and a good sense of humor;
  • Excellent writing and editing skills in English;
  • Proficiency in other languages a great advantage;
  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail;
  • Excellent public speaking and presentation skills;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including diplomatic and problem-solving abilities and a desire for continued professional growth while focused on promoting and developing grantees, partners and colleagues;
  • Demonstrated cross-cultural competence and substantial life experience with multiple cultures;
  • Graduate degree in a social science, e.g. in law, economics, gender studies, political science, public administration, or public policy, and 10 to 15 years’ relevant experience and/or training, or equivalent combination of education and experience required.
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.

Commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits package.
Application Instructions

Please email resume and cover letter with salary requirements to: Include job code in subject line: SPO-WRP.