(Photo illustration by Anya Thakur)
Liberty High School

Op-Ed: Fighting for Representation

Anya Thakur works to empower and uplift communities as founder of GirlUp Dallas, a UN Women organization, and a MetoWe partner with ArtRising, which provides arts enrichment to underprivileged communities and creates diverse programming for South and East Asian women. Hosting education, self-defense, and language and literature classes to empower rural women in Delhi, Mumbai, and Munipur, and humanitarian efforts with Myna Mahila, which empowers women in rural India through health education, her women’s advocacy promotes UN Women’s mission to ensure a fair and equitable future, and she has traveled throughout the United States and India to speak for girl’s education and empowerment.

I aim to stand in solidarity with and lead the movement for the accurate representation and portrayal of women and girls in media in partnership with global organization for change and industry leader MetoWe and in support of UN Women’s Mission to end gender parity. ​Through celebrating, highlighting, and championing the accomplishments of diverse women and creating a platform for women-led journalism and storytelling, I aim to elevate women in film and media.

As a proud first generation Indian American immigrant, feminist, and young women’s advocate, it is imperative to me to inspire and uplift girls in my community and globally and project truth and inclusiveness. I believe in the power of visibility and the power of women in our world. When more inclusive media in created, women and girls are inspired to reach their full potential as leaders and change-makers.

I am proud of the progress that we have made throughout the industry. Yet countless races, ages, and body types make up only a fraction of what we see online. And that’s why I am working to create a better and more equal image of women and their roles in film, television, and the world stage and showcase their excellent contributions and achievements

I’m honored to have had these opportunities and grateful to all the powerful, amazing, and supportive women who’ve made this all possible — the journalists and anchors I met, the awards show hosts who inspired me, and the actresses, artists, and activists who shared their stories. Together they form a moving and powerful tapestry of experiences and perspectives and embody the value of change-maker. I publish and share their stories and a multitude of others’ ​and will continue pushing boundaries, shattering stereotypes, uniting for equality, and uplifting women and girls.

I use my digital platform to showcase of artists, actresses, activists, and filmmakers fighting for equality in media, pushing boundaries, and shattering stereotypes. By spotlighting the industry contributions of diverse influencers and change-makers, I aim to entertain, educate, and inspire girls and women and help them see themselves accurately represented in media, share important and identifiable stories, and start conversations on women, equality, industry leadership, and empowerment.

Cultivating love and respect for multitudinous perspectives, races, and gender diversity is necessary to shape accurate portrayals of girls and women in media. As we witness a movement in our industry and society, I hope to stand for representation and give a voice to underrepresented minorities such as South and East Asian women and those who can’t stand or speak for themselves and push to make strides for equality for women and unheard voices.