UN Women advocate Anya Thakur on activism and advocacy through her art

UN Women advocate and teen celebrity journalist Anya Thakur on using her art and writing as a way to advocate and uplift on a global scale.

As an advocate for UN Women, teen celebrity journalist for the Los Angeles Times and artist, I’ve found home in creative expression. And I use my art and writing as a way to advocate and uplift on a global scale and work hard to build empathy across borders, support inclusivity and advocate for women’s and minorities’ voices.

Through my writings and stories in the LA Times, I’ve profiled a host of notables including Malala Yousafzai, Oprah Winfrey, Emma Watson, Gal Gadot, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra and accrued vast experience and perspective through the conversations, advice, and moments I witnessed.
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. I’ve spotlighted and convened with a multitude of industry leaders, actors, artists, authors and activists to share the stories of change-makers and diverse voices and covered movements from Times Up to red carpet awards shows including the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and the Golden Globes.

Artwork by Anya Thakur.

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 as a UN Women advocate. And collaborating closely with state senators, governors, and women’s empowerment organizations, I’ve led outreach efforts to lower income or underrepresented areas. From becoming a GirlUp grant recipient of thousands of dollars to fund activism and humanitarian efforts to a Jane Goodall Roots and Shoots grant recipient, I continue to pursue community outreach and teen leadership. I launched ShePower: How Periods Affect Potential to successfully disseminate over 5,000 sanitary pads, and promote women’s health and education on LA’s Skid Row and in downtown Dallas and Houston in collaboration with the Myna Mahila Foundation, whose work was lauded by UN Women advocate Meghan Markle.

Through empowering thousands of women, breaking taboos surrounding menstruation and sparking dialogue on women’s rights, and providing resources and quality health and sanitary products to underserved women with ShePower, I’ve worked with downtown Women’s Center, Dallas Women’s Shelter, and CHETNA-DFW to provide arts and academic tutoring in Dallas, Los Angeles, and rural India to girls and young women in city shelters

And in national conferences, such as the 2017 and 2018 GirlUp Leadership Summit, I connected with United Nations representatives, leaders and advocates globally.

As the Film and Arts & Entertainment Editor of and a women’s advocate for Thrive Global, which was created by Ariana Huffington to promote arts, awareness, education, and mental health and one of the top 50 startups in the US, I’ve created and curated content at the intersection of women influencers, wonder, and inspiration. And through my platform, I’ve advocated for and championed women’s voices and diversity and representation in media.

Artwork by Anya Thakur.

I serve as ShePower’s founder and trustee, a global organization I founded in partnership with MetoWe and WE Movement to empower. The mission of ArtRising and ShePower is to spotlight and empower minorities through creating diverse programming by and for South and East Asian women, particularly in underrepresented and underserved areas. I’ve 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 and collaborated closely with MetoWe and Senior Coordinator of School Engagement Amanda Monk to develop ArtRising. Through supporting youth leadership and arts opportunities for underserved and underrepresented communities and minorities, I fuse my passion with advocacy and meaningful change.

Artwork by Anya Thakur.

As a Youth Leader with World Vision, I led efforts in abolishing and providing relief for poverty and injustice through organizing food drives every month
From requesting local bakeries to donate food to city slums and shelters, formerly volunteering on LA’s Skid Row in Los Angeles to spending time with people in need, I was touched by hearing their stories and listening compassionately.

I had the opportunity to develop innovative solutions and fundraisers for World Vision to provide underserved communities with the resources they need and take a stance on and advocate for women’s rights, equal access, and global issues such as poverty and injustice through World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine and GirlRising. I created a coalition of youths in my community to effect change and provided all members with access to resources to continue their advocacy, be a voice of change, and empower women and young girls in our community and globally

And as an Arts & Entertainment Journalist for LinkedIn, I create and publish content profiling influencers and game-changers, championing women’s empowerment, sharing personal growth, and encouraging others to enact change. I’ve grown a network and amassed a consistent readership of thousands of professionals and visionaries and cultivate and continuously support a community of creators and provide guidance to fellow journalists and leaders.

Through my work as the creator of Anyatha Talk, a series profiling influencers and game-changers including Nobel Peace Prize nominees, UN Women Goodwill Ambassadors, and internationally renowned leaders such as James Chau, Nicole Kidman and Misty Copeland and Medium’s Women’s Voices Editor, I shared underrepresented voices and encouraged the proliferation of representation in media.

And I hope to continue sharing my work as an advocate for the United Nations foundation and UN Women and championing the stories that matter.

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