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Requisition ID: req1163

Job Title: Women and Girls/ WPE Advocacy Officer

Sector: Violence Prevention and Response

Employment Category: Fixed Term

Employment Type: Full-Time

Location: USA-Washington

Job Description

 Background/IRC Summary:  Founded in 1933, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) is a global leader in providing emergency relief, rehabilitation, post conflict development, human rights protection, resettlement services and advocacy for refugees and others uprooted or affected by violent conflict and oppression. The IRC is committed to restoring hope, freedom, dignity, and self-reliance. The IRC is committed to a culture of bold leadership, innovation in all aspects of our work, creative partnerships and thorough accountability to those we serve. 

IRC is one of the first humanitarian organisations to bring together specific disciplines involved in violence prevention and response (VPR) in conflict affected settings to ensure collaborative and specialized support to survivors and those at risk of violence. Over the past 16 years, IRC has pioneered and implemented programs that prevent and respond to violence against women and children, as well as other vulnerable groups in refugee settings and in other conflict-affected contexts, making the IRC a global leader in this field. IRC presently implements VPR programs to support social and political environments that foster freedom from violence, discrimination, and exclusion for vulnerable populations in contexts of conflict and displacement. Today, IRC manages VPR programmes in 26+ countries with funding from governments, the UN, foundations, and private donors. In 2015, IRC went one step further to address gender inequalities that impact women and girls around the world, by making an organizational commitment to strive for gender equality, in all of IRC’s programming beyond just VPR and within operations. 

IRC’s VPR programs adhere to the principles of best practice and specifically promote the ongoing evolution of knowledge and practice in the prevention of and response to violence against women and girls. Together, the women’s protection and empowerment (WPE) sector team supports country programs to facilitate the healing, dignity and self-determination of women and girls who have experienced violence.  

Advocacy is a key part of both IRC’s and the WPE technical unit’s work and is rooted in acknowledgement that violence against women and girls will not be solved without confronting the political structures and power inequalities that underpin it.   The WPE Technical Unit places emphasis on women’s and girls’ voices as both a means and an end in advocacy.

Job Overview/Summary:

The position has a global focus with responsibility for developing the internal and external components of the WPE advocacy strategy in coordination with the Germany-based WPE Policy Advisor as outlined in the WPE Priorities under the VPRU action plan.  Working closely with Policy and Advocacy colleagues and Regional Advocates, the WPE Advocacy Officer will design, support and, where required, lead initiatives and activities aimed to create lasting and transformational change in women’s and girl’s lives. The WPE Advocacy Officer will increase IRC’s visibility and leverage the WPE team’s technical knowledge, experience and connections to women and girls living in crisis-affected countries to mobilize action, improve systems of prevention and response, and lead the humanitarian community in new directions. This position will create and maintain linkages with the Gender Equality Unit (GEU), Global Communications and the President’s Office to advance advocacy initiatives delivering on strategy priorities.  The position reports to the Senior Director of the VPRU with a dotted line to Senior Director of Gender Equality and works closely with the Senior Director of Humanitarian Aid Policy and the US-based WPE Senior Technical Advisor.   

Major Responsibilities:

Policy and Advocacy Strategy Implementation

  • Update, oversee and monitor progress on the Global WPE Advocacy Strategy, leveraging IRC’s strength as a global organization with Advocates around the world and IRC’s organizational commitment to gender equality
  • Ensure alignment and cohesion with other organizational advocacy priorities, ensuring that internal stakeholders are informed and invested in advocacy seeking to protect and empower women and girls and promote gender equality.
  • Collaborate with WPE STA to harness technical expertise to inform policy and practice, through meetings, roundtables, outreach to key stakeholders and donor and humanitarian forums, media, IRC’s website and social media (see below)
  • In collaboration with the DD for Emergencies and the WPE STA, spearhead advocacy on women and girls in new emergencies, country programs and strategic initiatives. This includes developing talking points and advocacy briefs, organizing meetings with key officials, supporting media opportunities, and mobilizing coalitions.
  • Coordinate with WPE STA to conduct at least one field visit per year to keep abreast of IRC WPE programming in the field.
  • As appropriate and written in to ongoing grants, use 5-10% of time to engage in advocacy activities at field level, including capacity building of networks and advocacy expertise for local organizations. 

Research Uptake

  • Ensure that VPRU and GEU research findings are incorporated in, and form the basis of, policy briefs and advocacy messaging to inform policy and increase IRC’s visibility as a thought leader in WPE & GE.
  • Lead on and support dissemination and uptake of research by policy makers and practitioners through the planning and execution of launches, roundtables, webinars and other events.
  • Generate ideas and discussions on new advocacy related to research projects that will make substantive contributions to policy and practice and raise the profile of the IRC on violence against women and girls and gender equality. 

Representation and Visibility

  • Develop advocacy initiatives and campaigns, such as easy-to-use petitions, citizen alerts, and email/letter writing campaigns, that will influence policymakers.
  • Increase the visibility of IRC’s work to protect and empower women and girls, promote gender equality and mobilize new audiences in support of our advocacy goals.
  • Work with the German, UK, Brussels, Geneva and DC offices to ensure we are leveraging our global reach to get the voices and needs of women and girls to the attention of audiences around the world. 

External Representation

  • Engage with policy makers in the US and within the UN System to advocate on behalf of women and girls, in-line with strategy priorities. This includes bilateral meetings, consultations and expert briefings.
  • Identify possibilities for innovative collaboration with practitioners, experts, and leaders outside the IRC to raise the profile of key advocacy initiatives.
  • Represent the IRC at the CtA Steering Committee, the Interaction GBV working group and other key donor, and policy forums. 


  • Identify and contribute to funding opportunities for advocacy
  • In collaboration with WPE STAs, country programs and other technical units, contribute to learning and guidance on programmatic approaches to advocacy, including grassroots mobilization and country-level advocacy models.

Key Working Relationships:

Position Reports to:  Sr. Director Violence Prevention and Response
Position directly supervises:  N/A

Indirect Reporting:  Dotted line to Sr. Director of Gender Equality
Other Internal and/or external contacts: Coordinates with P&P advocacy team and external networks as identified

Job Requirements: The requirements should establish a baseline (minimum) for educational background, previous work experience, professional knowledge or certification, specific skills and strengths and any other skill necessary to perform the essential functions of the job. 

  • Masters degree in public policy, international relations, gender studies or a related field; or equivalent work experience preferred
  • Experience of working in partnership with women’s rights organizations, NGOs and staff in the global South
  • 3-6 years of advocacy or policy experience, preferably related to humanitarian assistance, GBV or women’s rights
  • Demonstrated writing and editing skills; ability to draft clear and effective briefing papers
  • Experience Supervising staff
  • Demonstrated communication skills and experience speaking at high level events
  • Proficiency in French a plus

Working Environment: Standard office work environment