How Anya Thakur began her fight for girls- from a teen celebrity journalist in the Los Angeles Times to one of the youngest advocates for UN Women- and how she continues her work through her foundation, ShePower, which she founded in partnership with MetoWe.
I want to share my story in the hope that millions of girls and people see themselves reflected in me and resonate with my mission.
I was born in Los Angeles, California on August 22, 2003 to a family of immigrants from India, who sought to give me opportunities that they did not have and raised me to be a global citizen, with my eyes and ears open to sometimes harsh realities and my heart open to those in need.
I began kindergarten and my awareness of the world around me began to grow. With this heightened awareness and perception, I developed a deep appreciation for my education and of what I could do to make a difference. From volunteering on LA’s Skid Row and requesting local bakeries to donate food to the homeless, I had incredible conversations that broadened my views at a young age right in my hometown nestled in the Golden Coast.
I created and grew GirlUp Dallas to a network of over one hundred fifty young women and girls from diverse backgrounds across Plano and Frisco to convene together and develop solutions to advocate for and empower themselves and their communities and girls around the world. I now collaborate closely with state senators, governors, and women’s empowerment organizations in outreach efforts to reach lower income or underrepresented areas.
I turned my passion for the arts and writing to a way to advocate and uplift, founding ShePower, a global organization to empower and educate girls. I worked extensively with local leaders in Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, and Mumbai to break gender stereotypes, implement programs such as providing self defense and martial arts training to young girls, and creating support groups.
I collaborated closely with MetoWe and Senior Coordinator of School Engagement Amanda Monk to develop ShePower and continue to support youth leadership and arts opportunities for underserved and underrepresented communities and minorities.
Image courtesy of Anya Thakur for UN Women.
I became a teen celebrity journalist and UN Women advocate, championing women’s voices and minorities and advocating for Asian American representation. In a recent speech on behalf of the United Nations for UN Women’s GirlUp, I stood up for equality and education for those that need it most.
I’ve created and curated content empowering and celebrating women in film and media and become an advocate for Asian-American representation and underrepresented minorities. And I’ve spotlighted and convened with a multitude of artists, authors and activists, and shared the stories of change-makers and diverse voices.