For too long, the law has served as a tool of oppression against women and girls, who continue to face inequality throughout the world.
The Clooney Foundation for Justice’s Waging Justice for Women initiative is working to change this, by transforming the law from a tool of oppression into a driver of change. Working hand in hand with grassroots organizations, we use legal empowerment, strategic litigation and public advocacy to challenge injustice against women and girls.
We are proud to launch CFJ’s Waging Justice for Women Fellowship, a new effort to empower the next generation of feminist lawyers to advance rights for women & girls in their communities.
Beginning in mid-2023, CFJ and our partner organizations are offering one-year, fully funded fellowships to an inaugural class of ten early-career women lawyers in sub-Saharan Africa. The aim of CFJ’s Waging Justice for Women Fellowship Program is to equip African gender justice champions with the tools they need to challenge inequality through the courts. These organizations partner with WJW on key issues such as removing legal barriers to girls’ education, combatting child marriage, promoting accountability for gender-based violence, and combatting economic discrimination and criminalization based on gender stereotypes.
Having a fully funded lawyer for a year increases the ability of these organizations to deliver access to justice for women and girls. CFJ’s Waging Justice for Women Fellowship Program also provides Fellows with mentorship, training, and access to leading lawyers, judges, activists, and academics from across the Continent and around the world. We will look to expand the number and geographical scope of the fellowship in future years.
Each Waging Justice for Women Fellow spends the year embedded with one of ten leading human rights and legal advocacy organizations in sub-Saharan Africa.
The ten host organizations partnering with CFJ on the Fellowship Program in 2023-2024 are:
- AdvocAid, Sierra Leone
- Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia, Liberia
- Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance, Malawi
- Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa
- Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa, South Africa
- Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa, The Gambia
- Katiba Institute, Kenya
- Legal Resources Centre, Ghana
- Pan-African Lawyers Union, Tanzania
- Women Lawyers Association, Malawi
Fellows also take part in a mentorship & training program, which includes a monthly online curriculum & at least one in-person convening.
These programs expose fellows to a diverse array of women leaders as well as strong peer support networks, which provide added support and inspiration as they pursue public interest work to advance the rights of women, girls, and marginalized communities. CFJ’s Waging Justice for Women Fellowship Program also organizes events with leading women lawyers and judges focused on promoting women in leadership, celebrating the contributions of Africa’s leading women in law, and facilitating discussions about how to accelerate progress on gender justice and equality on the Continent. We also host events and trainings with peer institutions, including the Obama Foundation’s Girls Opportunity Alliance, to connect our respective fellows and enable emerging African leaders from different fields to come together to devise innovative solutions to the issues facing women and girls.
A qualifying law degree
- Admitted to practice as a lawyer in at least one of the countries of the host organizations
- At least two years of post-qualification experience in the legal field. (As this fellowship is for early-career women lawyers, we will be less likely to consider women with more than five years of legal experience post-qualification)
- Experience in women’s rights and working in human rights organizations preferred
Citizenship or work authorization:
- In either Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, or Ghana
- Experience working with survivors and/or impacted communities
- Experience integrating gender and child-sensitive perspectives into substantive work
- Interest in gender equality and women’s rights
- Commitment to the mission and goals of the Clooney Foundation for Justice and relevant host organizations
- A demonstrated ability to conduct complex legal analysis and fact-finding
- Excellent research, writing and verbal communication skills
- Self-starter with excellent interpersonal and teamwork skills
- Demonstrated commitment to social justice and human rights and creativity in crafting strategies to advance justice in our priority areas
- Willingness to travel
- Fluency in English required; proficiency in other working languages relevant to the countries of host organizations preferred
Fellowships will be full-time, one-year opportunities, running from July 2023 – July 2024.
Fellows should plan to make arrangements with their host organizations, who may operate in person or remotely. Because Fellows will be placed across the Continent, most of the mentorship, peer networking, and training elements of the program will occur online. However, CFJ does plan to organize an in-person convening of the cohort at least once during the fellowship year.
This will depend on the needs of individual host organizations, but Fellows should expect to travel occasionally within the region to attend fellowship program events or assist with the legal work of their host organizations.
An ideal candidate for CFJ’s Waging Justice for Women Fellowship Program will be an African woman lawyer who is accredited to practice law in the country of one of the host organizations and who is early in their career (less than five years of professional experience, post-accreditation). Please see the application for additional qualification criteria.
Fellows will be embedded with a specific host organization for the entire year and will support that host’s litigation and legal advocacy portfolios relating to women’s rights. Candidates will be matched with hosts on the basis of geographic location and relevant interests. If selected for an interview, candidates will be informed of their potential host(s) at that juncture, and will be able to indicate a preference where applicable.
CFJ’s Waging Justice for Women Fellowship Program will provide Fellows with a salary for 12 months, commensurate with local salary bands for early career lawyers. Additional travel or work expenses may be covered at the discretion of CFJ and/or the host organization.
There is no fee to apply for CFJ’s Waging Justice for Women Fellowship Program.
Applications for the inaugural class of CFJ’s Waging Justice for Women Fellowship Program will remain open until April 8, 2023. After that deadline, CFJ will screen applications in conjunction with partner organizations, and shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interviews by early May. Offers for the inaugural class of CFJ Fellows will be extended by late May, at the latest. Those selected for a fellowship should expect to begin in July of 2023.