Making sustainable change toward gender equity calls for all our voices and all our stories.

As part of the commitment to the UN Women’s HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative, the University of Waterloo hosted the third annual HeForShe Writing Contest. Waterloo students, staff, faculty and alumni were invited to share their stories about building a better and more equitable world. For the second year, high school students from across the Waterloo Regional District School Board (WRDSB) were also invited to share their stories in the youth category.

The contest theme was ALLIES. An ally uses their energy and power to call out inequity — it is both a personal identity and public action.

“The stories draw attention to allyship and the importance of amplifying the voices of people who share their own experiences of inequity,” say Diana Parry, Associate Vice-President Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion. “I am grateful for the work of these students, staff and faculty who are making a difference by intentionally shining a light on inequity and showing us how we can all become advocates of equality for everyone.”

Judges from the University and the WRDSB selected six talented winners and awarded them with a $500 prize, as well as the honour of being published in a special anthology on gender equity. On Friday, March 8, the HeForShe Writing Contest winners will be celebrated at Waterloo’s annual International Women’s Day Dinner.

Category winners include:




Additional stand-out submissions have also been published in the anthology presented by the Book Store and Writing Centre in support of the HeForShe 10x10x10 IMPACT initiative.

You can pick up a free copy of the anthology at the W Store and outside the Writing and Communication Centre beginning March 11.

About the HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative

HeForShe is a global effort to engage men and boys in removing the social and cultural barriers that prevent women and girls from achieving their potential, and together positively reshaping society. The United Nations entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women created the initiative and hosted an official launch in September 2014 with UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson.

As part of this initiative, the framework involves 10 heads of state, 10 CEOs and 10 university presidents to advance gender equity. Waterloo is currently the only Canadian organization involved in the IMPACT 10x10x10 framework.

Banner image features 2018 contest winner, Lama Abdallah, whose poem, Fluent in Excuses, won best poem in the high school category.