Girls Who Code
Company: Girls Who Code, New York, NY USA
Company Description: Launched in Spring 2012, Girls Who Code is a national nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in the technology and engineering sectors. With support from public and private partners, Girls Who Code works to educate, inspire, and equip high school girls with the skills and resources to pursue opportunities in computing fields.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Women Helping Women – Government or Non-Profit
Nomination Title: Reshma Saujani, Founder, Girls Who Code
Describe for the judges the nominated individual's activities and accomplishments that provided support and assistance to other women since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):
Reshma Saujani is the Founder of Girls Who Code, a national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and prepare young women for jobs of the future.
Founded in 2012, Girls Who Code is an eight-week summer program for teenage girls to learn coding, robotics, website development, and app making. “Teach one girl how to code, she’ll teach four,” Saujani, former deputy public advocate of New York City told FastCompany Magazine. “The replication effect is so powerful.”
Saujani explains that women are the drivers of social media and online media more so than men and it make sense that women should be playing a larger role in programming, design and engineering of the sites and apps they use. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Saujani explained , “56 percent of our labor force is women and they're not getting exposure to that skillset.”
Tech industry leaders agree and Girls Who Code receives funding and support from Google, Twitter, GE, Intel, Goldman Sachs, eBay, and the Knight Foundation, to name a few. The classrooms are in the companies themselves, exposing the girls to what it would be like to work there!
The program started in NYC, in 2012 and in 2013 the program expanded with Girls Who Code School Clubs in NYC, Boston and Philadelphia, with the summer program added in Detroit, San Jose, and San Francisco.
Saujani worked with educators to develop a curriculum to make coding accessible and cool, combining a new model for computer science education with mentorships and exposure to the industries top female engineers and entrepreneurs. She believes that young women don’t consider tech professions because they have little to no exposure to it as a viable option while in school.
The results have been amazing, with empowered and energized young women leaving the program with new goals for entrepreneurship and careers in the tech industry. The girls take that enthusiasm back to their schools and share the wealth to multiply the effect.
This year, Saujani authored a book called “Women Who Don’t Wait in Line” providing insights from her experiences in politics and life and offering advice to young women such as not being afraid to fail, supporting other women in the industry, participating in professional networks, and being brazen and forward thinking. Indeed in her own life, after being rejected by Yale three times, she went straight to the dean and demanded that she had to be let in. And it worked! She graduated from Yale Law School in 2002.
As she continues to expand Girls Who Code, Saujani’s next goal is to help create the highly qualified teachers that will be needed to lead classes in robotics, coding, website and app design and entrepreneurship for the future.
Girls Who Code aims to provide computer science education and exposure to 1 million young women by 2020, making Girls Who Code the ‘girl scouts’ of the future. The “cookies” they sell will not be the same.
Provide a brief biography of the nominated individual (up to 125 words):
Reshma Saujani is the Founder of the national non-profit organization Girls Who Code and the author of a groundbreaking new book, Women Who Don't Wait in Line. As a political entrepreneur, Reshma has been a leader in Democratic politics for more than a decade working to create better economic and educational opportunities for women and girls, immigrants, and those who have been sidelined in the political process. Reshma is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and Yale Law School. She has recently been named one of Forbes' Most Powerful Women Changing the World, Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People, Ad Age's Creativity 50, Business Insider's 50 Women Who Are Changing the World,and City & State's Rising Stars.