Deputy Director (Program Lead), Poverty and Inequality At Human Rights Watch

Deputy Director (Program Lead), Poverty and Inequality
Economic Justice and Rights Division
Program Department
Multiple Locations Considered
Application Deadline: May 10, 2022

Human Rights Watch is seeking a Deputy Director (Program Lead) to lead our Poverty and Inequality work and to manage the staff who focus on this work. Poverty and Inequality is one of the two pillars of the Economic Justice and Rights Division (formerly the Business and Human Rights Division), along with Corporate Accountability. The Deputy Director will be a part of the management team of the Economic Justice and Rights division and will serve as our organizational lead on the human rights impacts of Poverty and Inequality.
Organization and Issue Overview

Human Rights Watch (HRW) advances human rights worldwide. We investigate wrongs, expose the facts, offer solutions, and challenge those with power to respect rights. Our 500 staff based in more than 50 countries conduct research into human rights abuses, publicize our findings, and advocate for change.

Our mission is as urgent as it has ever been, as the world faces multiple crises that are exacerbating economic hardship and the unrelenting rise in inequality, with devastating impacts on human rights. We must contend with an economic reality that leaves billions of people without access to adequate food, housing, health care, education, social protection, clean water or other goods essential to rights, while increasingly concentrating wealth in the hands of a few.

We must respond to poverty and inequality, and advocate for economic recoveries as opportunities to take a new approach rather than doubling down on spending cuts and reforms that hurt rights as a way for governments to cope with economic crisis and mounting debt. These challenges are compounded by technological and other changes that threaten workers’ rights, the impacts of climate change, and increasing authoritarianism that makes it harder to advocate for human rights.

Position Overview

Our vision is for HRW to be a powerful voice for the protection of rights in global and local public debates related to policies that drive poverty and inequality. We are seeking an experienced professional to lead and expand a growing body of work and to be a key internal and external voice for this work on behalf of the division and HRW. The emphasis and investment in Poverty and Inequality work and the small team assembled for it is part of a larger strategy and investment in this work

The ideal candidate would have extensive subject-matter expertise, who is also a strong manager and persuasive communicator, to help lead the poverty and inequality work, implement its strategy, and help guide related work across the organization. They will help to develop and updating strategic priorities, bring new expertise and innovative approaches to research, cultivate strong partnerships in relevant networks, and managing and supporting the work of the poverty and inequality team.

This position will be part of the management team of the EJR Division and responsible for growing resources and helping to put in place new processes and structures to facilitate work on poverty and inequality. This position will report to EJR’s Director to ensure the highest standards of research and advocacy, develop and implement the division’s strategy, liaise with other parts of the organization, and help manage an increasingly growing staff with an emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion; managing stress and resilience of staff; encouraging a healthy work/life balance.

This position will preferably be based in an HRW office conducive to work primarily on US Eastern Standard Time (EST), though other HRW offices will also be considered. We recognize that this moment, during the pandemic, is a uniquely difficult time for most people, particularly those with caregiving responsibilities, and we aim to be as flexible and supportive as possible in both the recruitment for and onboarding of this position.


  1. Provide leadership, vision, and priorities on issues pertaining to poverty and inequality for the Economic Justice and Rights Division.
  2. Provide day-to-day management and leadership of the division’s Poverty and Inequality Program and work collaboratively with the team in addressing challenges and opportunities globally.
  3. In collaboration with the Poverty and Inequality Program staff and the EJR’s Director, innovate and implement new processes and structures for facilitating work on poverty and inequality.
  4. Over the next three years, lead the hiring of new staff for the Poverty and Inequality Program.
  5. In collaboration with relevant internal and external partners, oversee and develop research, advocacy, and communications plans, including social media and multimedia production, on the impacts of poverty and inequality on human rights. Ensure that plans include clear goals and benchmarks, and that they align with the broader strategic plan and programmatic priorities of the division and organization.
  6. Foster and strengthen meaningful and equitable partnerships and lead our collaboration in the human rights and economic justice movements.
  7. Act as a senior spokesperson and liaise with external actors to advocate on the work of the Poverty and Inequality Program. This includes representing HRW and its work on poverty and inequality to companies, governments, and other institutions.
  8. Collaborate with the Development Department on fundraising, providing requested information and draft reports to donors in a timely manner, promoting the work of EJR and the Poverty and Inequality Program, and actively soliciting and following up with potential new donors to achieve program-specific fundraising goals.
  9. Respond to and/or anticipate relevant news events to frame developing news stories through a human rights and inequality prism, advise senior management on effective responses and advocacy, and project a human rights perspective into coverage of developing economic justice related news events globally, regionally, and nationally.
  10. Lead, motivate, develop, and mentor direct reports by communicating clear expectations, setting performance objectives, providing regular and timely constructive feedback, ensuring balanced workload, and supporting professional growth.
  11. Develop and implement along with the division director a monitoring and evaluation framework for the division’s work on Poverty and Inequality.
  12. Promote an inclusive and positive work environment including by soliciting diverse points of views, encouraging staff to participate in diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, and proactively addressing bias and discrimination.
  13. Work collaboratively with all departments and divisions to ensure operational effectiveness, efficiency, and impact.
  14. Undertake other responsibilities as required.

Candidate Profile
The successful candidate will be a thoughtful, collaborative, and strategic leader with deep knowledge and experience related to poverty and inequality and at least 7 years of relevant experience in related work, including research, reporting, advocacy, plus relevant management experience, preferably one that involved managing down and up.

Education and Experience: At least 7 years of relevant work experience is required. Experience managing in a large organization is an additional benefit. Education in economics, international relations, public policy, or a related field is desired.

Related Qualifications and Skills

  1. Extensive knowledge of and experience working on policies affecting poverty and inequality and economic and social rights, including worker rights, social and fiscal policy, and access to public services essential to an adequate standard of living. Proven ability to learn and master new issues. Strong policy analysis skills.
  2. Demonstrated experience developing innovative research projects, crafting strategies, and implementing plans.
  3. Recognized management experience, including supervising a team of talented professionals in multiple locations.
  4. Demonstrated commitment to high standards of accuracy, objectivity, creativity, and ethics.
  5. Strong interpersonal skills to work collaboratively within HRW, as well as develop constructive relationships with NGOs, media, research institutes, multilateral organizations, governments, academia, and the private sector.
  6. Ability to multi-task effectively, adjust to changing priorities, and meet deadlines.
  7. A willingness to experiment and learn from mistakes.
  8. The patience and persistence to build effective ways of working in an established organization.
  9. Optimism, a sense of humor, and excitement about joining a skilled and diverse team.
  10. Excellent oral and written communication skills in English and ideally one other commonly spoken language.
  11. Demonstrated awareness and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and orientations.
  12. Ability to work collaboratively and respectfully with others in multicultural teams, across organizational boundaries and multiple time zones, and with employees at all levels.

    Salary and Benefits: If based in the United States, the salary range for this position will be USD 141,000 – 150,000. Salary ranges outside of the United States vary based on location. HRW seeks exceptional applicants and offers competitive compensation and employer-paid benefits. HRW offers a relocation assistance package and will assist employees in obtaining necessary work authorization, if required; citizens of all nationalities are encouraged to apply.

Human Rights Watch is strong because it is diverse. We actively seek a diverse applicant pool and encourage candidates of all backgrounds based anywhere to apply. Human Rights Watch does not discriminate on the basis of disability, age, gender identity and expression, national origin, race and ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or criminal record. We welcome all kinds of diversity. Our employees include people who are parents and nonparents, the self-taught and university educated, and from a wide span of socio-economic backgrounds and perspectives on the world. Human Rights Watch is an equal opportunity employer.

Human Rights Watch is an international human rights monitoring and advocacy organization known for its in-depth investigations, its incisive and timely reporting, its innovative and high-profile advocacy campaigns, and its success in changing the human rights-related policies and practices of influential governments and international institutions.

How to apply

How to Apply: Please apply immediately or by May 10, 2022, by visiting our online job portal at and uploading a CV and cover letter, preferably in PDF format. No calls or email inquiries, please. Only complete applications will be reviewed, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

If you are experiencing technical difficulties with your application submission, or if you require a disability-related accommodation to submit your application, please email Due to the large response, application submissions via email will not be accepted and inquiries regarding the status of applications will go unanswered.