Executive Director, Women's Rights

Closing date


Executive Director, Women’s Rights Division

Location: New York preferred, but other locations considered

Application Deadline: November 16, 2020

Position Overview and Responsibilities

Human Rights Watch is seeking an outstanding women’s rights leader to direct its Women’s Rights Division (WRD), one of its eight thematic research programs. The Executive Director of Women’s Rights reports to the Program Office and leads a WRD management team. The position will preferably be based in Human Rights Watch (HRW) headquarters in New York, but we are open to discussing alternate locations.

The position involves three main areas of responsibility: 1) lead HRW’s work on women’s rights; 2) manage a thriving team within the Women’s Rights Division; and 3) play a key role in raising funds to support WRD’s work.

  1. *Lead HRW’s work on women’s rights

The WRD Executive Director is responsible for leading and motivating WRD’s staff to conduct strategic, ethical, and impactful research, produce high-quality reports, innovative and targeted communications, and advocacy with governments, policy-makers and the public, to advance the rights of women and girls around the world by generating pressure on governments, non-state actors such as business, and international institutions to curb rights violations. The WRD Executive Director will provide vision, leadership, and support to foster an inclusive, equitable, productive, resilient, and team-oriented culture within the division and across the organization.

  1. *Manage a thriving team within the Women’s Rights Division

The WRD Executive Director is responsible for day to day management and supervision of WRD’s staff, including: overseeing the work of multiple direct reports; setting priorities; representing the division’s work internally and externally; ensuring security of staff, partners, and information; managing risk; mentoring and supporting staff and ensuring alignment with HRW values.

The WRD Executive Director must demonstrate ability and commitment to: foster the safety and resilience of staff; promote diversity, equity and inclusion; build consensus with staff around confronting key challenges and research and advocacy approaches; lead the team in producing strategic research and advocacy that is timely and impactful; and ensure the highest research standards in a culture of learning, trust, teamwork, and collaboration.

  1. *Play a key role in raising funds to support WRD’s work

The WRD Executive Director has primary responsibility for raising the funds needed to support the work of the division. In this role, the WRD Executive Director will have support from HRW’s development team.

Organization Overview

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is an international NGO that advances human rights worldwide. HRW is known for in-depth investigations, incisive and timely reporting, innovative and high-profile advocacy campaigns, and success in changing the human rights-related policies and practices of governments, international institutions, and other influential entities. Our 500 staff based in more than 50 countries investigate wrongs, expose facts, offer solutions, and build pressure for those with power to respect rights. We collaborate closely with a diverse array of local and global partners and engage the public. HRW defends the freedoms and protections that promote dignity, equality, and justice.

The Women’s Rights Division (WRD), founded in 1990, leads HRW’s work on women’s rights. WRD works to end the human rights violations contributing most to the inequity women and girls continue to face in every country in the world. Our approach is deeply intersectional: we explicitly and intentionally look at how intersecting inequalities—based on gender, race, ethnicity, caste, nationality, Indigenous status, migration status, sexual orientation and gender identity, ability, age, and other factors—contribute to marginalization and human rights violations. We stand in solidarity with other feminist and social justice groups around the world often working in partnership with them to realize key common goals including: reproductive, economic and climate justice; economic, social and cultural rights; racial justice and reparations; LGBT rights; and workers’ rights.

How to Apply

To see the full job description and apply, please visit our website here: http://bit.ly/hrw_wrd

Interested in learning more? As Human Rights Watch begins our search for a new Executive Director of the Women's Rights Division, we will be hosting two Q&A discussions—across different time zones--on October 2, 2020, to share information about the division, the team, and the work, and to answer questions about the role and the recruitment process. Anyone is welcome to attend—and we hope that people potentially interested in working with us in other roles, or just interested in knowing more about our work, will join us, as well as anyone who might be interested in this role.

In addition to answering pre-submitted questions, there will be an opportunity to submit questions during the Q&A itself. Please submit any questions you have for the Women’s Rights Division team in the “Questions and comments” box of the Zoom registration page. Please register below.

Q&A 1 – October 2nd, 7am GMT – Register here

Q&A 2 – October 2nd, 11 am ET – Register here

How to apply

Apply Here