Senior Program Officer, Program Advocacy & Communications, Gender Equality

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Location
    Seattle, Washington
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career / Advanced
  • Posted
    Aug 23

Position description

This is limited term opportunity with a duration targeted for 18-24 months starting in September 2019. However, the start and end dates may change.


The Gender Equality Special Initiative (GESI) team, working in partnership with our Gender Equality (GE) program strategy team (PST) as well as Global Policy & Advocacy (GPA) and other foundation PSTs, aims to accelerate progress towards gender equality, achieve policy and finance goals that improve gender equality, and explore new investment types that promote

gender equality by:

  • Developing and coordinating the execution of policy, advocacy, finance and communications strategies.
  • Leveraging leadership and foundation voices to implement advocacy strategies.
  • Developing and managing a grant portfolio dedicated to achieving high impact. 
  • Directly advocating with private and public-sector leaders, influencers and media to achieve advocacy outcomes.
  • Leading issue-specific communications, in service of advocacy goals.
  • Developing policy recommendations or proposals in partnership with programmatic and regional offices.
  • Reviewing data and lessons learned from the field to explore new investment areas for accelerating gender equality.

Position Summary & Responsibilities

The Senior Program Officer (SPO) will work closely with all internal stakeholders and key external partners and governments to support our women’s economic empowerment advocacy goals. You will be expected to lead the continued development and execution of a gender policy, advocacy, and communications strategy focused on women’s economic empowerment and gender data.

Your charge will be to develop the key grants that would help to execute our economic empowerment strategy as well as to participate in direct advocacy to multilateral institutions, donors and priority countries. You will also support briefings, learning sessions, and advocacy activities by the foundation’s leadership.

You will work to generate the awareness, resources, partnerships, and policy changes necessary to achieve success in the following ways: galvanizing civil society in donor and developing nations to increase political commitment to women’s economic empowerment and gender data and to deliver on policy and resource outcomes; understanding and shaping international financing channels for global development issues and supporting the evidence base to drive sound decision-making; and influencing policymaker decision making through increased visibility and understanding of solutions to women’s economic empowerment and gender data. 

Additional Key Responsibilities to include:

  • Develop & implement policy, advocacy, and communication strategies in partnership with the Gender Equality and GESI teams to accelerate progress on gender equality program team goals through awareness generation, resource mobilization, policy change, and accountability work.
  • Refine and implement a grantmaking strategy that complements programmatic team efforts to advance women’s collectives (self-help groups, village savings and loans associations (VSLAs), etc.) and gender evidence and data; working directly with the program officer leads for each of these topics.
  • Manage the tracking and analysis of key global policy developments and trends meaningful to a designated set of programs and priorities. Lead a small team responsible for a grant portfolio of advocacy and policy focused grants and body of research and information to support of the programs.
  • Leverage the best of the foundation’s assets and build and manage partnerships and alliances to advance and refine policy, advocacy, and communications strategies based on field and financial data.
  • Develop appropriate outreach plans for listening to outside voices, sharing our strategies, and thinking about how we communicate impact assessment.
  • Represent the foundation to key program-related external constituencies.  This includes both formal and informal presentations such as making speeches, attending conferences and other meetings as necessary.
  • Serve as a liaison to the GE PST leadership team by attending key meetings, providing regular updates, and enabling the PST and PAC to be well-informed regarding their respective processes, strategies and activities.
  • This role is responsible for high quality interactions and clear and consistent communications with grantees and partners in the field.

Reports to: Director, PAC Gender Equality Special Initiative

Leadership and Culture

We believe that energized people, working well together, fueled by great leadership in an inclusive environment in which they thrive, will do phenomenal things.

Core Knowledge & Skills

We are looking for people who enjoy the opportunity of working on complex problems and collectively building solutions that have the potential for transformative change in the lives of people around the world. We seek a natural collaborator with a deep commitment to women’s empowerment globally. You should be prepared to work across a diverse set of disciplines, bridging a wide range of expertise all the while being a teammate, with a proven ability to work with flexibility, efficiency and diplomacy in an exciting, challenging environment. Additionally, we seek:

  • Knowledge of government policy and budget decision making processes in several countries plus experience building strategies for or executing direct advocacy to government officials.
  • A breadth of knowledge and experience with the gender equality community and with a range of key gender policy issues related to women’s economic empowerment; specific knowledge around women’s collective models and/or gender data and evidence a plus.
  • Experience developing and leading campaigns and complex global strategies in support of policy initiatives, advocacy programs and events.
  • Knowledge of how to use strategic communications to achieve advocacy goals and policy change coupled with an ability to translate and communicate technical topics to diverse audiences.
  • Strong people skills and a demonstrated ability to lead and manage others in a constructive, encouraging manner in order to build and sustain collaborative relationships and to influence a wide range of individuals from diverse backgrounds and at different levels.
  • Experience in a dynamic environment with demonstrated ability to juggle multiple and competing demands and establish priorities, while providing continual attention to detail.
  • Calm under pressure with capability to lead and inspire confidence through ambiguity or change.
  • Must be able to legally work in the country where this position is located without visa sponsorship.

Education & Experience

  • Advanced degree in public policy, or equivalent work experience, in international relations, development, communications or a related field preferred; preferably with a mix of service in either the public or non-profit sectors.
  • A minimum of 10 years’ experience working in government, public affairs, multilateral institutions, civil society organizations, and/or corporate communications roles aimed at influencing policy change.

As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.

Application instructions

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