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Ishita Srivastava uses digital content to spread awareness about global issues
The field of digital content production has seen a massive boom in the past decade. More than 40 per cent of people on Earth have internet access and as that number rises exponentially, so too does the demand for skilled digital content producers. Its growth has been accelerated further by pioneers such as Ishita Srivastava, whose work at the forefront of the medium has defined the digital age as the era of digital content.

Because of its diverse range of applications, digital content production has become an alluring and indispensable tool for spreading messages to tech savvy consumers. Though advertising agencies and media outlets widely capitalize on the commercial benefits, Srivastava has revolutionized the field's potential as a platform for nonprofit organizations.

Groups looking to raise awareness for an array of pressing social issues have come to rely on Srivastava, who has spent her life working to build a better world and open a dialogue across cultures about globally relevant issues.  

"I was, and still am, deeply interested in people and culture, and the ways in which culture holds and facilitates social change and social movements," she said, describing how she found her calling.

"After working in the space of culture change for some years, I realized that what I cared about was telling stories in innovative ways that engendered empathy in the audience, and that the medium was secondary."

Srivastava's roots in documentary filmmaking and her fascination with contemporary anthropology make her perfectly suited for what she does. Inspired by her mother, who founded the first photo archive in India, Srivastava has long studied traditional gender roles in society. In her most recent project, "The G Word," she turned that extensive research into an instrument of change. Srivastava produced and directed the powerful series for Breakthrough, a global human rights organization focused on ending gender and sexual-related oppression and violence.

Moving, inspirational and at times tragic, "The G Word" is at its core a massive collection of intimate stories. Submitted by teens and young adults, the stories are the true accounts of more than 400 people, many of whom have faced either discrimination or prejudice based on their gender or sexual identity. Others have struggled to live up to societal expectations of masculinity and femininity, and still others have been victims of violence or abuse.

These stories can be found on the project's website. While "The G Word" is certainly one of Srivastava's biggest undertakings on the subject of gender identity and societal attitudes toward the issue of gender, it is by no means the first time she has faced down this critical issue.

Although we are surrounded by it every time we read a news article online, log in to social media or watch a YouTube video, most of us aren't conscious of just how pervasive digital content is in our lives. In marketing and advertising, that subtlety can be its greatest asset. When the goal is to promote social progress, however, Srivastava knows the importance of calling attention to cultural issues of immense magnitude. Her ability to shine light on challenges facing underrepresented social groups is without peer. Such was the case with "#BeThatGuy," a cross-platform campaign which utilized social media, online animation and a strong web presence to address sexual harassment and violence against women.

The objective of "#BeThatGuy" is to shift the blame for harassment and abuse of women away from the victims by encouraging men to intervene when they witness women being subjected to misogyny and sexism. The animation-based project, which Srivastava produced and directed, became a viral phenomenon.

Srivastava has also worked to promote the rights of immigrants through her campaigns "#ImHere," which focused on the dangers facing immigrant women, and "Deport The Statue," a satirical campaign which advocated for the protection of immigrants by using a tongue-in-cheek proposal to deport the Statue of Liberty.

Her immense talent and years of experience working for the betterment of mankind shine through in every project she touches. Srivastava has changed the way Americans and people worldwide approach social activism and the ways they promote causes of utmost importance to the dignity of our species.

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