IWRAW Asia Pacific Job Vacancy: Executive Director, Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia


  • TITLE: Executive Director


The International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW AP) is a feminist organisation that has been on the frontlines of articulating, advocating, and securing women’s human rights globally for nearly three decades. Founded in 1993, IWRAW-AP acts to disrupt structures, systems, and institutions that violate women’s human rights and engage in movement building that amplifies women’s voices and activism to create alternative political narratives and spaces.

IWRAW-AP has grown in reach and influence, with a solid advocacy foundation for gender equality and women’s human rights. IWRAW-AP’s current strategy facilitates movement building with women’s rights organisations, to inform and influence global processes on local priority issues. Drawing on a political analysis of context, IWRAW-AP seeks to explore innovative ways of challenging the growing influence of the corporate sector and the market economy on women’s lived experiences, the shrinking space for human rights defenders, and the tightening of border controls as ethnonationalism thrives and climate change.

IWRAW-AP has also prioritised institutional strength and relevance to ensure the sustainability of the organisation’s support of women’s human rights movements. In 2022, IWRAW-AP concluded an organizational review process, and recommendations from this review have guided the transformation of organizational culture, practices, policies, and procedures.


IWRAW-AP has a well-developed body of leaders, including the Board, the Advisory Committee members, the Executive Director, and the Management Team. In IWRAW AP’s current evolving/expanding team, the roles and responsibilities of the Executive Director are diverse and complex. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and works alongside a two-tiered group of Managers. The Management Team comprises IWRAW AP’s Finance and Admin Manager and two senior Programme Managers. Other Managers are called in to support the work of the Management Team on special organisational issues. IWRAW AP’s leadership culture is characterised by transparency, inclusivity, and participation, and it aims to align with IWRAW-AP’s feminist values. As such, many responsibilities are delegated to different members of the team who work together collaboratively, with the Executive Director taking an oversight role while still having the final responsibility for the achievement of the outcomes.

The Executive Director has some general responsibilities, and in the current phase of IWRAWAP’s evolution, some specific tasks need to be done to ensure continuity in organisational development and operations of the organisation through the leadership transition.

Ideally, the position is based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


Organisational Strategy

Lead the strategic direction of the organisation’s programmes through liaison and collaboration with the Board of Directors and the Advisory Committee to achieve the organisation’s mission and in keeping with its values.

Ensure that IWRAW-AP has a robust monitoring, evaluation, and learning system that enables the organisation to keep track of its strategic direction and understand its impact.

The Executive Director is not the only face of IWRAW-AP. Team members, the Board, and others represent IWRAW AP in different fora. The Executive Director will also represent IWRAW AP in different public fora.

Programmes & Communications

  • The Executive Director has the final responsibility for the programmes of the organisation. This responsibility is delegated to different programme team members working in collaboration to ensure coherence among the different programmes. The Executive Director ensures that team members conceptualise and implement programmes within the framework of IWRAW-AP’s strategy and values. The Executive Director will provide program team members with the necessary mentorship, guidance, and troubleshooting.
  • The Executive Director, assisted by Programme Managers, will pay special attention to ensuring cross-programme engagement and overall coherence among the different programmes.
  • The Communications Team develops and determines IWRAW-APs external communications and political positioning in concert with the programme team. The Executive Director ensures this communication aligns with IWRAW-AP’s strategy and values.
  • The Executive Director will support and seekalliances and partnerships with allies across sectors and constituencies that will support the realisation of IWRAW-AP’s vision and mission. 

Team Support

  • The Executive Director has the responsibility to develop the necessary cadre of team members to ensure that the organisation can implement its strategic objectives, taking into account the resources available and anticipated. The final responsibility for all recruitments, job descriptions, and employment contracts lies with the Executive Director. This responsibility is essential as it ensures that IWRAW-AP brings together committed and skilled people to be the collective heart of the organisation.
  • The Executive Director, in consultation with the Management Team and the Board of Directors, has the responsibility to develop a salary structure and benefits scheme that is in line with the organisation’s values and commitment to equality, nondiscrimination, and decent work.
  • The Executive Director will be responsible for ensuring the Change project and decisions stemming from the organisational review completed in 2022 are implemented and will have an opportunity to contribute to the organisation's overall improvement at all levels.
  • The Executive Director is responsible for ensuring that all formal appraisal processes are carried out and for resolving any issues that may arise through this process.  
  • In addition, the Executive Director will support IWRAW-AP’s Managers in managing the team and ensuring team building and motivation, staff development and growth, and, where necessary, implementing disciplinary measures for policy breaches and other forms of misconduct.

Finance and Resource Mobilisation

  • In collaboration with the Finance and Administration Manager and the Management team, and in consultation with the Board, the Executive Director will ensure that IWRAW-AP has financial policies that meet all statutory requirements and align with the organisation’s mandate, strategy, and values.
  • The Executive Director, in collaboration with the Finance and Administration Manager, is responsible for drafting the organisation's annual budget within the overall strategic resource allocation. The budget needs to be approved by the Board of Directors at the beginning of every fiscal year.
  • With the Finance and Administration Manager, the Executive Director is responsible for forecasting income and expenditure and highlighting potential red flags to the Board.
  • The Executive Director is responsible for developing the organisation's fundraising strategy and ensuring that IWRAW-AP’s programmatic and organisational strategy is resourced. This also includes final responsibility for ensuring that grants are utilised for approved activities and that donor reporting is timely and accurate.
  • The Executive Director will keep abreast of the funding situation for women’s human rights, particularly in the not-for-profit sector, and develop and sustain relationships with donors.

Organisational Governance

  • The Executive Director oversees the organisation's governance and leads IWRAWAP’s management. This means ensuring that IWRAW-AP’s organisational policies and practices, including financial management and reporting, are legally compliant, follow good practices, respect human rights, and align with IWRAW-AP’s feminist principles. This particular role is in collaboration with the Board of Directors.
  • The Executive Director works with Board Members and the Advisory Committee to define and clarify responsibilities and identify new members.
  • Alongside the Finance and Administrative Manager, who acts as the Secretary to the Board, the Executive Director will ensure that the Board and the Management of IWRAW-AP are clear about their shared and differentiated responsibilities. The Executive Director will assist the Secretary to the Board in recording the decisions and minutes of the discussions at the Board meetings. 

Specific Tasks

  • In consultation with the Board, the Advisory Committee, and the team, the Executive Director will support implementing the endorsed recommendations for the organisational review, salary restructuring, and remote working policy, ensuring that the changes are reviewed regularly.
  • Develop and ensure the implementation of IWRAW-AP’s next five-year strategic plan (2025-2029). The plan needs to be approved by the Board and discussed with the Advisory Committee at the end of 2024.
  • Ensure that the Organisational Manual is updated to reflect the changes to organisational practice that have taken place post-COVID and through the commitment to be intentionally feminist in IWRAW-AP’s practice.



  • A feminist orientation and a commitment to gender equality and non-discrimination
  • Identifying as from the Global South
  • Strong knowledge of and experience relating to human rights concepts and the United Nations human rights system, norms, and standards
  • Commitment to anti-racist, decolonial analysis and an intergenerational perspective
  • Proven experience in participatory management and leadership
Open to learning and unlearning
  • Ability to communicate in English
  • Experience in running organisations/programs/projects with multiple stakeholders and with oversight of both operational and financial aspects
  • Experience and involvement with the women’s rights movement
  • A clear understanding of movement-building
  • Proven experience in leading a regional and/or international civil society organisation 

Fundraising experience

  • Proven ability to work under pressure 14. Digital literacy
  • Good interpersonal skills, approachable and sense of humour.


  • Demonstrated/proven/experience in movement building, advocacy, or constituency building 


  • Working knowledge of other global and local languages
  • A post-graduate degree in law or social sciences
  • Good presentation skills in person and virtual meetings


Please send the following materials (in English) to recruitment-ed@iwraw-ap.org with the subject ‘Executive Director Applicant – Your Name”:

Full curriculum vitae (detailing the nature, scope, and scale of previous work experience and responsibilities held)

A cover letter highlighting relevant skills and experience for this position, including 2 paragraphs on why you are the ideal “fit” for IWRAW-AP and how and what you would contribute to the role and the organization.

Names and contact details of 3 references. Referees should include someone the candidate reported to, and someone that the candidate supervised.

The deadline for applications is March 31, 2024. Should the position not be filled following the first round of advertising, applications will be solicited and reviewed on a rolling basis.

The Search Committee commits to managing the recruitment process in a timely manner.