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Closing the Gap in Computer Science By Building Confidence

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According to the National Science Foundation, women make up half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce, but only 29 percent of the science and engineering workforce. The problem is the same at the college-level— only 19 percent of students identifying as women and just 2 percent of women of color graduate with degrees in computing.

Women and girls are being left out of the jobs of the future. In 2018, tech was responsible for about 10 percent of total U.S. job growth. Last year, the median wage in tech was over $80,000, nearly double the median national wage.

Girls Who Code is on a mission to close the gender gap in computer science. And we’re focused on reaching girls as early as possible in the pipeline, because we know that nearly 70 percent of the growth in the tech pipeline could come from changing the path of our youngest girls.

A significant part of our work is also helping girls build their bravery and their confidence. We’re not just giving our girls a computer science education, we’re also giving them the confidence they need to one day ask for a raise, or petition for a promotion. And it’s crucial to have these skills within tech—a field where female engineers make, on average, about 90 cents per dollar earned by their male counterparts.

A few weekends back, I spoke at #LEADLIKEAGIRL: A Conference for Risk-Takers and Changemakers at Stuart Country Day School in Princeton, NJ. In efforts to close the wage gap, Stuart Country Day School is an independent school community that empowers girls to advocate for themselves, discover mentors and have experiences that unleash their confidence and bravery. In fact, the National Coalition of Girls’ School states, “In math and computer skills, girls’ school graduates rate their confidence in their abilities at least 10% higher than their coeducated counterparts.” Financial capital and exploration can make a world of difference in a young person’s life, giving them the skill sets to confidently pursue their dreams without looming limitations.

At Stuart and at Girls Who Code, we take pride in providing girls with the tools they need to succeed. 

​Reshma Saujani

​Reshma Saujani Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code

Reshma Saujani is the Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and change the image of what a programmer looks like and does. Girls Who Code is leading the movement to inspire, educate, and equip young women with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. Reshma’s TED talk, “Teach girls, bravery not perfection,” has more than four million views and has sparked a national conversation about how we’re raising our girls. She is the author of three books, including the forthcoming Brave, Not Perfect – scheduled for release in Winter 2018, New York Times bestseller Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World, and Women Who Don’t Wait In Line – in which she advocates for a new model of female leadership focused on embracing risk and failure, promoting mentorship and sponsorship, and boldly charting your own course – personally and professionally.

Reshma is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and Yale Law School. She’s been named one of Fortune’s World’s Greatest Leaders, Fortune’s 40 Under 40, a WSJ Magazine Innovator of the Year, a Future Lion of New York by the New York Times, a Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education winner, one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in New York by the New York Daily News, CNBC’s Next List, Forbes’s Most Powerful Women Changing the World, Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People, Crain’s New York 40 Under 40, Ad Age’s Creativity 50, Business Insider’s 50 Women Who Are Changing the World, City & State’s Rising Stars, and an AOL / PBS Next MAKER. Saujani serves on the Board of Overseers for the International Rescue Committee, which provides aid to refugees and those impacted by humanitarian crises, and She Should Run, which seeks to increase the number of women in public leadership.

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