UN Women Advocate Anya Thakur On How 2018 Became A Watershed for Diversity

UN Women advocate Anya Thakur on how the voices of Gen-Z and women and girls everywhere are driving the development of the world around us.

Image courtesy of Anya Thakur.

Now more than ever, Gen-Z shoppers and consumers are shining a light on empowerment and representation and brands are noticing. 2018 has been a watershed for diversity and with Crazy Rich Asians and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, we are witnessing a movement.

From Vogue Australia’s issue on sustainable fashion guest-edited by Emma Watson to CR Fashion Book’s spotlight in 21st Century Women on my Times Up sister and Crazy Rich Asians actress Gemma Chan, this generation is seeking media and products that have a positive, meaningful impact.

Priyanka Chopra recently partnered with Bumble and Holberton School as a tech investor to expand gender diversity in the tech space and make a social impact for the greater good, illustrating how celebrities want to attach themselves to meaningful projects and brands they share a vision with.

YouTube India used its platform to support International Day of the Girl Child, on which I gave my first big speech as a UN Women advocate and championed women, girls and global empowerment, and not only helped to further my mission, but connected with an audience passionate about enacting change and making a difference.

The power to influence and enact change with my platform as a UN Women advocate is both gratifying and humbling. Through championing women’s voices, Asian American representation and global change as among the nation’s youngest to be involved with the UN on a global level and as a UN Women Advocate, I’ve found my own voice.

As a teen celebrity journalist in the Los Angeles Times, Women’s Voices Editor for Medium, Arts & Entertainment Editor for Ariana Huffington’s Thrive Global, and Arts & Entertainment journalist for LinkedIn, media is an incredible way to share my story and enact change while amassing an audience of tens of thousands of readers and visionaries. And writing with substance and purpose is both freeing and empowering.

Likewise for brands hoping to connect with a Gen Z audience, media is power. An authentic presence and thoughtful, rich content across platforms is ideal in developing a strong online presence and sharing a message with consumers.

When working with organizations such as the United Nations, UN Women, We Movement and MetoWe, and the Jane Goodall Foundation, it was important to me to not just attach my name to an organization, but to advance it and create a lasting impact. Brands should likewise seek authentic connections and to build meaningful company-customer relationships.

And as a new advocate for UN Women, it is an honor to join the ranks of luminaries like Emma Watson and Angelina Jolie, known for both their body of work and their activism, and continue to create a lasting legacy for this generation. The ideas of Gen-Z and the ideas and talents we are using to organize together and transform our world are reflected in the indelible impact we are having.

Brands hoping to tap this audience should aim to create value, substance, sustainability and purpose. With the success of films such as Crazy Rich Asians at the box office, it is clear audiences seek diverse, representative stories. And women are feeling empowered to use their voices now more than ever in light of movements such as TIMES UP, showing that they want a chance to share their stories and be heard.

The voices of Gen-Z and women and girls everywhere are driving the development of the world around us.

Now is the time to shine a light on empowerment and Gen-Z using their voices for social good and their ideas to shape the future.

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