In 1839, Edward Bulwer-Lytton (a playwright) wrote “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Letters to the editor and opinion pieces can be powerful advocacy tools, especially when published in local papers, because they are widely read by elected officials and by audiences national media outlets often do not reach. As both scientists and members of our local communities, we have a unique opportunity to make a difference.
In the summer of 2017, 500 Women Scientists partnered with RISE Stronger and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) to write letters to the editor and op-eds on a topic that was near and dear to our hearts - science! We identified three general topic areas for women scientists and their pods to write about - (1) proposed cuts to science funding in the FY18 budget, (2) speaking up against bills that aim to dismantle science-based policy, (3) other science issues relevant to your community/state/region.
While summer is over, these issues continue to be relevant, as is this collection of tips for op-ed writing. Therefore, we encourage women scientists and pod members to continue writing op-eds. Read through the materials here, get inspired, and get started! We've assembled an Editorial Board to provide editing support, so contact us for input on your piece at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Submission for Editorial Board.” Please be sure to include a draft of your piece, the intended publication and audience, and your submission deadline.
Whether op-eds are published or not, 500 Women Scientists can amplify them by:
Helping to organize pod members to sign the letter, then hand-deliver or mail to elected officials in district
Publishing on the 500 Women Scientists Medium site as guest blog posts
Publishing on pod websites
Sharing across the entire 500WS organization through social media (#500WSOpEd)