Indian-American student’s passion for empowering women and girls

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Serena Simpkins (’21, Honors College), Emma Brushaber (’21, Law & Political Science Discovery House), and Aasha Shaik (’20, Honors College)
Photo: Donel Young
(Courtesy Rutgers.edu)

Aasha Shaik, a sophomore at the Rutgers Business School, recently graduated from the Working Group on Girls, a United Nations-affiliated coalition of more than 75 organizations dedicated to promoting girls’ rights around the world.

The program helps high school-age girls become leaders, with a focus on empowering and protecting the rights of girls globally and Shaik discovered her passion for girls’ rights while she was living and studying in India for a year, during her middle school years, according to Rutgers Today.

“Truly absorbing life there opened my eyes to injustices that summer visits with my family while I was growing up never did. Turning on the TV and hearing about acid attacks and rape was striking – to say the very, very least,” she said on Rutgers’ website.

Shaik and two other Rutgers students spent a part of their high school career moderating UN panels; conducting research on child marriage, education for girls and the impact of poverty on them along with writing policy proposals based on that research, presenting it at high-profile U.N. events.

Shaik wants to take her experience from the Working Group on Girls and continue advocating for gender equality at a more grassroots level at Rutgers-New Brunswick and beyond, by potentially becoming lawmakers themselves, reported Rutgers Today.

“When you have some of the most powerful people in the world genuinely considering your suggestions and opinions, it reminds you of just how important speaking up is. It reminds you that nothing can silence you – not your gender, not your race, not your age. We may have “only” been high school girls, but what we had to say was just as deserving as anyone else,” she added.

Aasha Shaik (’20, Honors College) presenting on a panel at the United Nations.
Photo: Aasha Shaik
(Courtesy Rutgers.edu)
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