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Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

Geneva | New York City

  • Organization: WILPF - Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
  • Location: Geneva | New York City
  • Grade: Level not specified - Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Women's Empowerment and Gender Mainstreaming
    • Peace and Development
  • Closing Date: Closed

  1. About WILPF

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is a membership-based organisation with Sections and Groups in over 40 countries and partners around the world, with an International Secretariat (IS) based in Geneva and a New York office. Since our establishment in 1915, we have brought together women from around the world who are united in working for peace by non-violent means and promoting political, economic and social justice for all.

WILPF is in an exciting time in its journey - the growing movement is united in its vision for permanent peace in a time in the world when feminist peace is needed more than ever. WILPF is also united in its commitment to explore feminist models and leadership in a diverse global setting, and to create structures and practices for this across the movement and in all its offices.

  1. Job purpose

We are seeking to hire a full-time Secretary General (SG) who is aligned with and exemplifies WILPF's feminist values. The incoming SG will help lead a transformative process of co-creating a more inclusive WILPF movement and an evolving IS structure - the IS currently comprises 47 staff members and long term consultants with a budget of approximately CHF9 million per annum - while holding the IS accountable for the set of its mandated functions as per WILPF’s Constitution, and leading the collective implementation of the International Programme 2022-2025 (IP).

The ideal candidate will be a feminist leader for peace and social change in line with WILPF’s values, an activist with experience in membership-based movements and leading organisations through change, with a feminist understanding of the human rights, conflict/peacebuilding, and/or disarmament sector, and with social capital and legitimacy in this sector. They will be open-minded, brave and curious, a motivator and a collaborator, able to lead diverse groups of people in collectively achieving goals, and an excellent communicator for varied audiences.

While the SG will be accountable for ensuring that the functions of the IS (as outlined below in the job description) are fulfilled, the work will be led by various IS teams and involve committed volunteers from the membership base.

  1. Job definition

Key responsibilities

The SG‘s responsibilities, as outlined in WILPF’s Constitution and Bylaws, the International Programme (IP), and consultations within WILPF about functional needs - can be summarised as follows:

  1. Acting as the spokesperson and representative of WILPF’s work
  2. Managing the IS and leading, along with the International Board, in the co-creation and implementation of feminist operational models and values across WILPF
  3. Leading the financial management of the IS, and overseeing resourcing support for sections and groups
  4. Enabling information and communication flows between all the bodies of WILPF
  5. Liaising with sections and building and supporting their capacity to be able to implement the IP
  6. Setting the tone of leadership of all offices of WILPF, with the President
  7. Administration for Congress and the International Board.
  8. Ensuring practical implementation of decisions of Congress and International Board
  9. As WILPF has consultancy status with the UN, the SG will be directing staff work with and liaising with UN agencies in Geneva and New York

Consistent with WILPF's feminist values, and principles of co-creation and collective action, the SG will be accountable for ensuring that the following work is done (with teams leading on these roles, and the involvement of the membership base and other partners) - not in any priority order:

  • Visioning and strategic work: including implementing the current IP, the realisation of the OneWILPF goal (to further bond all the parts of WILPF), to model and set the tone for feminist leadership across WILPF, to ensure involvement from all parts of WILPF in strategic direction and responses to emerging issues
  • Political work: including leading collective feminist analyses of the context, acting as a spokesperson and representative of WILPF, building and maintaining relationships and ensuring that WILPF is meaningfully engaging and well positioned in strategic fora that will further their aims
  • Managerial/operations work: co-creating and maintaining accountability for feminist policies, horizontal structures, mechanisms and systems towards the management, finances and operations of WILPF and the IS in particular; leading a diverse, global team (in-person and/or remote) and working with a diverse membership base; enabling effective administration and reporting for International Board and Congress; allocating human and financial resources towards achieving WILPF’s vision while honouring Section and group autonomy
  • Relationship work (internal and external): leading a culture in which there is intentional reflection on self, interpersonal dynamics and structural dynamics, ensuring that relevant values-based relationships are being built and maintained using sound feminist principles and structures, and maintaining WILPF’s presence in international fora
  • Communication work: is accountable for information and communication flows to be enabled across the network and with the outside world, using various technologies and media, ensuring that horizontal learning, support and sharing platforms are created and supported, and driving public relations and maintaining WILPF’s brand as positive and attractive and credible.
  • Work to strengthen the network: coordinating the IS to act as the main liaison between different WILPF bodies and external partners, ensuring that there are sustainable connective and learning and communication structures and culture across WILPF, actively driving recruitment to expand and further diversify the network in terms of members and other partners
  • Resourcing work: accountable for appropriate fundraising and resourcing of WILPF (and development of strategy), in line with feminist principles, ensuring that financial and human and social capacity matches the needs and aims of WILPF, supports sections to obtain and manage resources on their own.

Interdependencies and reporting

  • The Secretary General holds the IS accountable and ensures the IS functions are fulfilled.
  • The International Board holds the Secretary General accountable, with the President and the Secretary General providing regular feedback to each other, and working closely together.
  1. Knowledge and experience

The ideal candidate will have the following knowledge, skills, competencies and experience:

Knowledge, skills and competencies

  • A collaborator, who can build trust internally and externally, with personal gravitas and high credibility and accountability, committed to practising the values of WILPF at all levels in the organisation and able to build strong and genuine interpersonal relationships with diverse stakeholders, and act as a role model and motivating guide to the movement
  • Able to embody and practise feminist leadership principles: of inclusivity, participative practices, building feminist structures; ability to oversee, delegate and build teams across a diverse network
  • A political strategist, who can work with members and other strategic partners, including the UN, multilateral organisations, other INGOs and peace organisations, to translate local to global and global to local advocacy across the whole movement
  • Knowledge of systems, ecosystems and the ability to see the bigger picture and assist with connecting/making connections between the parts and the whole; ability to oversee and manage programmes that are relevant to complex and changing contexts
  • Able to build the movement forward by overseeing effective relevant organisational operations, and ensuring implementation of strategies that are delivered collectively based on the International Programme, while honouring and building on the work already done by the movement
  • Able to manage large and complex budgets, including successes in fundraising for programmes and projects
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English are required, with professional proficiency in French, Spanish or Arabic strongly preferred, and the ability to enable inclusive communication that is effective in a range of diverse settings to effectively articulate complex issues and WILPF’s positions to various audiences
  • Skilled in working in cross cultural settings with diverse people and committed to expanding WILPF's diversity
  • Demonstrated self-awareness and ability to self-reflect; high emotional intelligence, empathy, and humility, with the ability for deep listening
  • A curious, open-minded person and a brave, bold thinker with the courage to address fundamental change in creative and diplomatic ways


  • A minimum of 7-10 years in a feminist peace and social change leadership role at an international level with responsibility for vision, strategy, programme development, fundraising, external relations, and operational management
  • Demonstrated experience in collectively leading change management and growth initiatives with a diverse group of stakeholders; experience in networks/movement building/member-based organisations is essential
  • Experience as an activist with grassroots movement-building expertise
  • Demonstrated experience working on and in complex geo-socio-political issues and advocacy/policy fora, with a strong understanding of intersectional approaches necessary to address them
  • Strong familiarity with feminist theory and gender justice frameworks, in human rights, conflict/peacebuilding, and/or disarmament
  • Demonstrated experience with mobilising resources and/or fundraising for a global movement.
  1. Compensation and location

The strongly preferred location of this position is Geneva, Switzerland. If based in Geneva, the SG is expected to work from the Geneva office with the option to telework as needed. The position will involve international travel.

The salary range for the SG position will be between 110,000 and 140,000 CHF per annum, plus an additional 3,000 CHF per annum for healthcare and wellbeing.

Please note: Work visas and/or permits to Geneva could be issued if required, subject to Swiss labour law regulations.

Please send a resumé or CV and an application letter outlining 1) why you are interested in this job and 2) how you meet the knowledge, skills and competencies criteria detailed above to with “Secretary General” in the subject line. For any questions prior to application, please write to the same email address.


Next Steps

You will be notified of the receipt of your application. Short listed applicants will be contacted regarding the further selection process and for written references.

As an equal opportunity employer, WILPF applies an intersectional lens, and welcomes applications from all suitably qualified candidates, irrespective of sex, gender, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, ethnic or social origin, disability, religion, or belief. During the different stages of the recruitment process, specific measures may be taken to ensure equal opportunities for candidates with disabilities.

This vacancy is now closed.
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