The opportunity to stand upon UN Women’s platform and spearhead a discourse for young women to feel empowered and worthy, to unlock their potential, take the fullest advantage of the opportunities granted to them, and become change-makers is invaluable.
And through my involvement with United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women as the founder of GirlUp Dallas and through my work with ShePower and We Movement as a women’s advocate, I was given just that.
. . .
An excerpt from my speech on behalf of the United Nations foundation GirlUp as a women’s advocate and founder and president of GirlUp Dallas on International Women’s Day
“It’s an honor to be here today before you all. I wanted to thank everyone for coming out today, from our distinguished state leaders to the little girl clutching her mother’s hand. Each voice here is fundamentally valuable, each and every girl and woman here should be encouraged to share her voice and people be encouraged to listen.
My name is Anya Thakur and I am here as a women’s advocate for a United Nations foundation. To give you some context for my work, I’d like to share a story that captures my deep interest and commitment in making progress today. When I visited India to further the work of ShePower, a global organization I founded in partnership with MetoWe and We Movement, I had the opportunity to share a multitude of stories.
The words of a little girl still remain with me. As she struggled to articulate what she needed, I asked her why she felt uncomfortable.
She told me, “Because we are not supposed to speak about it.” And yet a period is a natural part of her being a girl and a cycle of her body.
Image courtesy of Anya Thakur.
I replied, “You have the right to speak about this if people are unaware. Help educate them by speaking out. It’s natural and it’s normal.”
And I watched her go up to the older women of her village and, at first tentatively, explain what had happened to her and translate what ShePower was and how it could help them, who responded in unexpected affirmation with a nod of their heads.
She felt indomitable now.
And that’s how each and everyone of us should feel — empowered to live our lives and unlock our fullest potential.”