European Womens Lobby

2007 / 3 / 14

The Women s Program of the Open Society Institute works to promote women s human rights and gender equality as central to building open societies. The Women s Program serves as a resource and catalyst on gender issues for the Open Society Institute/Soros Foundations Network.
Key themes for 2007 are:

o Defending the Rights of Women Facing Multiple Discrimination

o Promoting Women s Rights in Transitional Justice Contexts and Institutions

o New Voices and New Visions for 21st Century Women s Movements

Women and Multiple Discrimination

"The Independent Expert on Minority Issues of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Gay McDougall, has stated that new and urgent attention must be given to the rights of women facing multiple forms of discrimination, exclusion, and violence. Amongst the most disadvantaged and vulnerable are women from minority communities, who face problems compounded by their uniquely disadvantaged positions in society. Such women face discrimination both because they belong to certain minority communities, and also because they are women.

In a statement marking International Women s Day 2006, Gay McDougall called for all actors at the community, national and international levels to rise to the challenge of improving the security, opportunities, and life chances of such women."

--United Nations Press Release, March 7, 2006

Women s human rights advocates and policymakers increasingly recognize that women are not a homogenous group of rights holders. In order to protect, promote, and advance women s human rights, advocates and policymakers must take into account differences among women with respect to age, socio-economic status, racial/ethnic background, religion, national origin, citizenship status, health/HIV status, sexual orientation, and disability, among others.

The OSI Women s Program seeks to increase successful advocacy campaigns, policy initiatives, strategic litigation, or action research that address different forms of women s multiple discrimination.

Global and local civil society, national governments, regional courts and institutions, and international institutions increasingly recognize women s rights through such international instruments as the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and regional mechanisms like the Maputo Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa to the African Charter on Human or Peoples Rights or the European Union Gender Equality Directives. Other mechanisms, such as the Convention to Eliminate Racial Discrimination (CERD), occasionally address the rights of minority women. However, there are very few efforts that link these mechanisms to promote the rights of women facing multiple forms of discrimination.

The Women s Program is particularly interested in supporting innovative initiatives that link women s rights strategies with other rights strategies, raising awareness about women s multiple discrimination. We invite proposals from groups operating at local, national, regional, continental, or international levels.

The Women s Program will support organizations working in any of the following areas:

fostering partnerships between women s rights organizations and other civil society groups working on anti-discrimination;
educating advocates, policymakers, lawyers, and judges about multiple discrimination;
providing training or targeted opportunities for women experiencing multiple discrimination to get involved in policy processes.
investigating, documenting and exposing human rights abuses of women vulnerable to multiple forms of discrimination;
monitoring government institutions to ensure state compliance with, adherence to, and respect for international human rights law;
initiating pilot advocacy models that seek to expand human rights norms to encompass and better recognize multiple discrimination;
creating cutting-edge campaigns to influence public policy agendas and debates among stakeholders, including media campaigns;
shaping anti-discrimination and equal opportunity policies and promoting legal reform;
generating innovative advocacy strategies to ensure implementation, enforcement, and linkage of relevant international instruments (such as CEDAW, CERD, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, etc.), regional instruments (such as the Maputo Protocol, the EU Race Directive, etc.), or relevant national instruments in addressing women s multiple discrimination;
litigating landmark civil or criminal cases to prosecute violations of women s human rights to bring offenders to justice, and that would have resounding, high-profile impact regionally or globally;

Organizations can apply for the following types of support:

Think Tank Fund - for initiatives led by organizations that expose rights abuse, monitor government institutions, generate innovative or pilot advocacy strategies to inform public policy and shape legal reform, strategically engage and educate relevant stakeholders, and amplify the voices of women facing multiple forms of discrimination. The Women s Program will only fund academic research that is: a) policy-relevant or action-oriented research, and b) is through an institution or NGO. The Women s Program cannot fund individuals.
South - South / East - East Exchange - for building the capacity of women s rights organizations defending the rights of women facing multiple discrimination via human rights training or exchange programs.
Strategic Litigation Fund - for fostering legal action to litigate landmark civil or criminal cases to prosecute violations of women s human rights that would have resounding, high-profile impact regionally or globally, and which would expand upon existing jurisprudence.

I. Who can apply?

Preference is given to:

organizations located in the countries where OSI is active (;

local/indigenous, independent non-governmental organizations, or initiatives that link local and international organizations expertise;

organizations managed and led by women, including young women;

organizations that forge partnerships with other civil society groups working on anti-discrimination;

organizations that are catalysts for women s rights organizations nationally and/or regionally, playing a role in mobilizing women s movements;

organizations that have a 5+ year track record and demonstrate sustainability.

II. Grant amount and funding period

Organizations can apply for a 1 year grant ranging from $25,000-$100,000.

III. How to apply

Proposals should be submitted in English by email (preferred), fax, or mail no later than May 15, 2007 to:

Network Women s Program

Open Society Institute

400 West 59th Street

New York, NY 10019 USA

Fax: +1-212-548-4616


We suggest that organizations contact the Women s Program staff prior to submitting a proposal if you have questions regarding our grant making guidelines or deadlines.

Please contact staff liaisons for your region:

Emilie Neumann: Latin America and Multi-Regional:

Phoebe Schreiner: Asia, Central Asia, the Caucuses, Turkey : `

Marla Swanson: Middle East and North Africa; Central and Southeastern Europe, Western NIS and Baltics:

Heather Sweeney: Eastern, Western, and Southern Africa; and Western Europe :

For more information, please visit the Open Society Institute s website at

IV. Decision-making process

Finalists will be notified of the decision by July 15, 2007, and grant awards will be made approximately six to eight weeks after the final decision.

Proposal Guidelines

Title page:

Organization name
Project title
Amount requested
Contact information (mailing address, street address, telephone, fax, email, website)
Contact person(s), including the executive director and the proposal contact


A description of the organization and its capacity to carry out the proposed project.
Bios or C.V. s of the organization s executive director and key staff members working on the project and a list of the Board of Directors or other managing body, if applicable.
Statement of need for the project, its relevance to the mission and mandate of the OSI Women s Program, and the type of funding requested (Think Tank Fund, Strategic Litigation Fund, or South-South/East-East Exchange).
Detailed explanation of project objectives, a timeline, methodology and how outcomes/impact will be measured.
A project budget, as well as an organizational budget, noting additional sources of funding received or anticipated.
Requested amount for the grant, including the dates of the grant period.

Lobbying Restrictions

In no instances are any grants to be used, directly or indirectly, to engage in partisan political activity such as for the support of or opposition to political parties or individual candidates for elective office at any level of government.

United States law not only prohibits the Open Society Institute from funding any electioneering, including the support for or opposition to political candidates or parties in the United States or abroad, but also prohibits the earmarking of grant funds for lobbying activities. Lobbying is defined as an attempt to influence federal, state, local or non-US legislative bodies, or the outcome of referenda and ballot initiatives. This proscription includes attempts to influence treaty ratification by legislative bodies.

The prohibition against lobbying includes (but may not necessarily be limited to) communications with legislators or legislative staff that express a view on pending legislation or specific legislative proposals, and communications with the general public reflecting a view on specific legislation or a specific legislative proposal where such communication includes a "call to take action" by the public.

Public education, analysis and research on social issues of broad public interest, including issues that are also the subject of pending legislation, may constitute an exception to the lobbying prohibition. Similarly, the production of non-partisan studies, analysis and research providing a full and fair exposition of the facts and arguments may not constitute lobbying. Responses to written requests for technical assistance made on behalf of a legislative body, committee or subcommittee may also not be lobbying even though the problems discussed may be the subject of pending legislation.

If you have questions concerning whether your grant proposal includes lobbying, please contact us at
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