Did you know that globally nearly 1 in 4 girls ages 15–19 are not in school? These numbers (reported by UNICEF) tell a story of inequality. While a quarter of teen girls are without economic, academic, and professional pathways, only one tenth of boys face the same barriers to opportunity. Gender-based disadvantage greatly impacts transgender and nonbinary young people around the globe as well—in some places, female, trans, and nonbinary youth are currently losing
rights. But here’s the thing, dear writers: Gender equality is not just a feminist or LGBTQ+ issue. Gender equality lifts up everyone
. Study after study shows
that the most gender-equal societies have the best quality of life, and the happiest, healthiest populations, full stop.
This month, in collaboration with Malala Fund
, and in recognition of the UN’s Day of the Girl
on October 11, we’re passing you the mic. What gender issue or injustice has impacted you, your family, your community, school, or country? In an opinion piece, tell us what change you’re advocating for in order to bring about gender equality in your part of the world. Perhaps you’ll write about an unfair policy at your school, a toxic norm within your friend group, or the social barriers for girls to enter a coding class. Or perhaps, you’ll tell the story of a courageous classmate, and implore others to stand up in the face of discrimination. Or perhaps you’ll zoom out, focusing on a national or international issue—how access to education in your country compares to others, for example. Regardless of your chosen topic, be sure your opinion rings through clearly.
Change begins with the voices of many, dear writers. The world needs to hear yours.
Guiding Ideas for Opinion Writing
- MAKE IT PERSONAL: We want to know what you think. It’s always tempting to check out the research and opinions that are already out there before crafting your own response. But before you consider the perspectives of others, carefully contemplate your chosen topic and jot down any ideas that come to mind, as well as any emotions that surface.
- INVESTIGATE YOUR OPINION: Why do you think what you think? Can you identify the people or experiences that have influenced you in forming this opinion? Your friends? Your family? School? The media or the culture in which you live? Exploring the root of your opinion demonstrates to your readers that you have thought deeply about the issues at hand.
- BACK UP YOUR IDEAS: Once you have a sense of what you want to say, it is time to collect evidence. Look at the existing research on your topic, find persuasive quotes from reputable sources, and identify experiences from your own life (or anecdotes from people you know) that demonstrate the validity of your perspective.
- CONSIDER OPPOSING PERSPECTIVES: Imagine holding a different opinion on this subject—what would this counter-argument be? How can you acknowledge this opposing perspective while also demonstrating why yours is the most valid?
- WELCOME CHANGE: As your knowledge deepens, your ideas will likely evolve. This is a good thing! Be open to your perspective becoming more complex and nuanced.
- TAKE A STAND: An op-ed is your chance to weigh in on an important issue. Most essentially, an op-ed asserts an opinion. So be sure to include a clear thesis statement that unequivocally states your central argument.
- CAPTIVATE YOUR READER: An opinion piece should be a riveting read. Make sure your writing is thoughtful, reflective and clearly structured. Think about starting the piece with a story or anecdote that hooks your reader. Make sure your argument is compelling and watertight from beginning to end.
- MAKE IT UNIVERSAL: As you share your opinion, keep in mind that your goal is to persuade your audience to listen up. Oftentimes, the most compelling op-eds are both personal and universal. Try sharing an experience from your life that supports your opinion, while also explaining (or showing through examples) how this topic impacts people on a broader scale.
- GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT'S DUE: Don’t forget to cite your sources.
** Check out the sample outline under “Resources” for more tips on how to write a stellar op-ed.
Forms of Persuasion
Some readers might be convinced by hard facts and statistics. Others might be persuaded by an emotional anecdote, or a story from your own life. Writing a compelling op-ed often requires looking at the topic from multiple angles—each perspective helping to solidify your argument, while convincing readers to listen up. Here are some different strategies to try out as you craft your argument. You might focus on two or three, or perhaps all forms of persuasion will come into play in your piece.
Who is Eligible?
- Personal Experience: The writer describes an experience they have had.
- Expert Opinion: The writer draws on the opinion of an expert—someone trained in a particular area, or someone who has relevant personal experience.
- Example: The writer provides an example that supports a larger idea or pattern.
- Analogy: The writer compares the situation to another similar situation.
- Facts and Statistics: The writer uses facts or numbers to prove their idea. Often this information comes from other sources, such as books, newspapers, or websites.
- Logic: The writer uses reasoning or logic to argue their point.
- Emotion: The writer makes an emotional appeal to the reader.
Young writers ages 13-19
600 – 1,000 words
Is previously published work eligible?
Our monthly competitions are designed to get you writing across a range of genres throughout the year, so we encourage you to write a new work for each competition, but we will also accept work that has been previously shared with a small, local audience (for instance, a piece that was published in a school journal).
How to Enter
- If you haven’t yet, sign up for a free account for Write the World as a young writer here
- Hit the “Start Writing” button above!
- Draft your entry! Hit “Save” to return to it later.
- The first 100 people to submit a draft by September 12 will receive an in-depth review from one of our Expert Reviewers—authors, writing teachers, and educational professionals—that you can use to revise your final entry. The “Submit for Expert Review” button will be clickable if slots are still available—click it to have your draft reviewed. (Note: you can still enter the competition if you haven’t received or don’t want to receive an Expert Review!)
- When you are ready to submit your entry, hit the "Submit as Final" button (You can revise, re-publish, and mark any version as your "final submission" until the deadline.
- Only one entry per person, please.
Vee Kativhu is a 23 year old YouTube visionary, education activist and founder of the youth empowerment organisation, Empowered by Vee. She uses her platform to share tips and advice to help underprivileged and underrepresented people from across the world recognise their own academic ability and potential. Vee’s debut book, Empowered; Live your life with passion and purpose
, is a practical and motivational self-help book for young people. In her spare time, Vee enjoys volunteering for education-focused charities and is currently an active ambassador for United World Schools, CAMFED and Girl Up Zimbabwe, a United Nations Foundation charity.
is working for a world where all girls can learn and lead. Malala Fund advocates for resources and policy changes needed to give all girls a secondary education, invests in local education leaders and amplifies the voices of girls fighting for change. Assembly
, a digital publication and newsletter from Malala Fund, is a platform for girls and young women around the world to share their thoughts, challenges and accomplishments — and for all of us to learn about this new generation of leaders. Assembly publishes interviews, essays, poems, illustrations, photos and videos submitted by girls and young women about their lives and the issues they care about.
What’s Different about Write the World Competitions?
- Best Entry: $100 (Our guest judge’s commentary on the winning piece, and an interview with the author will be featured on Write the World’s blog)
- Runner up: $50 (Our guest judge’s commentary on the piece will be featured on Write the World’s blog)
- Best Peer Review: $50 (Our guest judge’s commentary on the best peer review and an interview with the reviewer will be featured on Write the World’s blog)
- Selected finalists will also be featured in Assembly, Malala Fund's digital publication and newsletter.
- Prizes: The winning entrant will receive $100, and the runner-up and best peer-reviewer will receive $50.
- Professional Recognition: The winning entry, plus the runner-up and best peer review, will be featured on our blog, with commentary from our guest judge. Selected finalists will also be featured in Assembly, Malala Fund's digital publication and newsletter.
- Expert Review: Submit your draft by Monday, September 12 and get feedback from our team of experts—authors, writing teachers, and educational professionals.
- September 5: Competition Opens
- September 12: Submit draft for Expert Review (Optional. We will review the first 100 drafts submitted.)
- September 16: Reviews returned to Writers
- September 20: Final Submissions Due
- October 7: Winners Announced
Our Climate Writing Competition
opens Monday, October 3rd.
Stay tuned for more details!
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