Closing the Tech Gender Gap by Teaching Girls to Code

Reshma Saujani is on the far left. She spoke in a session called Girls, Unleashed at Spotlight Health.
When Reshma Saujani ran for US Congress in 2010, she made campaign stops at schools throughout New York City. Her run against a long-time incumbent was unsuccessful, but the loss wasn’t a complete failure: she came away from it with an idea born of concern. “As I would visit schools, I’d go into their computer science labs and robotics classes and I’d see dozens of boys clamoring to be the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg,” she says. She wondered where the girls were. The number of women graduating with a computer science degree has dropped from 37 percent in the 1980s to less than 18 percent today. Saujani blames the decline, in part, on an American culture that paints the computer programmer as a “dude in a hoodie, sitting in a basement, drinking a Red Bull.” Girls can’t relate. So in 2012, Saujani created the organization Girls Who Code. It’s working to close the gender gap in technology by teaching girls across the country to computer program. “It’s so important to give girls access to coding and technical skills,” she says, “because I promise you, they’re going to solve the problems of today and tomorrow.”
Reshma Saujani spoke at Spotlight Health in 2016 as part of a session called Girls, Unleashed.
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Reimagining the Internet
After forty years the internet has begun to corrode. Aspen Institute President Walter Isaacson writes that there are now “bugs in the foundation, bats in the belfry, and trolls in the basement.” The internet’s efficacy will be explored this summer at the Aspen Ideas Festival. Here’s what we’re reading: How a Reengineered Internet Could Protect Free Speech, The Real Secret of Chinese Internet Censorship? Distraction, and Women in Tech: What’s the Real Problem? Discover more about the program track Reimagining The Internet.
Memorable Words
“People, family, and home: those three components have become fractured and disconnected from one another, and it’s reflected in our politics.” — Michael Steele, Aspen Ideas 2016