Oct 2 by Imali Bandara
Just picture it now: your headshot on the front page of The New York Times, with a bolded headline that reads: “Local Activist Inspires Her Community to Change the World.”
OK… I might be getting a little ahead of myself. Even though your story may not be on the front page of a national paper until the future, you can start to make your voice heard today.
Pick an issue you feel strongly about and write an op-ed for your local newspaper to share your opinion with your community.
In fact, with International Day of the Girl coming up on October 11, this is the perfect time to advocate in your local publication!
How to write a great op-ed:
- Research your local paper’s guidelines for op-ed articles including word count, deadline, and the submission process.
- Start with your opinion. You want to hook your readers in by expressing your beliefs on the issue in the first paragraph. Then, use the rest of your article to back up your opinion with facts and experiences to make your case, followed by re-stating your opinion at the end.
- Focus, focus, focus! An op-ed is meant to be short and to-the-point.
- Show your personality! Draw your reader in by being spirited and using personal experiences. Remember, this is YOUR opinion, so get fired up!
- Issue a call-to-action. The idea of an op-ed is to share your beliefs and hopefully inspire your community. Give them something to do to help make a difference!
- Be direct. Be clear. Be powerful.
- Don’t forget to include your information: name, contact info, and a brief bio!
Tips for an IDG-themed op-ed:
Start with why International Day of the Girl is so important to you. Use a personal example or a story of a girl that inspires you. Include some facts about adolescent girls to make your case. Here’s a few to get you started:
- Providing girls with leadership skills and including them in the decision-making process can spark economic and social change
- 1 in 7 girls in developing countries is married before the age of 15
- Girls make up more than half of the 140 million children and adolescents at are out of school
- Every year of schooling increases a girl’s future earnings by 10-20%
- Girls and women are disproportionately affected by the lack of readily available access to water — they walk miles every day fetching and carrying water for their families and miss out on opportunities to work or go to school
- Girls who receive an education marry later, have fewer children, and are more likely to access healthcare for themselves and their children
For your call to action, highlight your International Day of the Girl event if you are hosting one or provide info on how others can get involved and start advocating for girls around the world! They can learn more at GirlUp.org.
Need help? Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to look over your op-ed. Happy writing!!