Founder and CEO of tech organization Girls Who Code Reshma Saujani spoke at the annual Council for Women of Boston College Colloquium on Tuesday, regarding the efforts of her organization in closing the gender gap in technology.
The inspiration for Girls Who Code came out of Saujani’s failed bid for the United States Senate in 2010. After a campaign season of visiting New York City public schools and seeing computer science and robotics classrooms full of boys, she asked herself where the girls were. That question marked the genesis of Girls Who Code.
She said that the number of women in technology has dramatically decreased due to the tech’s surrounding culture, wherein the problem of the gender gap lies.
“We have created a culture that celebrates that girls are not good at math and science,” she said. “It’s not true, and we are simply turning girls off.”
Despite culture turning girls away from pursuing a career in this field, the technology industry needs workers. Saujani emphasized that there are currently 500,000 open jobs in technology—her solution, which is also the goal of Girls Who Code, is to cultivate a welcoming atmosphere for females in the field.
Saujani said that when the technology workforce equalizes, a greater diversity and abundance of ideas regarding what can be developed with that technology can be produced. She told the stories of girls who graduated from the organization who went on to use the skills they learned in Girls Who Code to make a difference.
Women who have graduated from this organization are building an algorithm to detect the benignity or malignancy of cancer and creating an app that works to stop bullying. Girls Who Code is equipping girls with the ability to produce technology that benefits and betters our world, according to Saujani.
“I believe, because of the work that we’ve done, it’s not a pipeline problem anymore,” she said. “We cannot say that we can’t find [females in the technology field]. Now the opportunity for us is to hire them.”
Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / For the Heights