In the 1980s, says Girls Who Code Founder and CEO Reshma Saujani, more than 40 percent of computer science graduates were women, but today that number has decreased to about 18 percent. What caused this tremendous decline? Saujani has a theory: While the image of the "brogrammer" — young men in hoodies in front of computer screens — was hard to miss in pop culture, there was rarely a woman to be seen.
“[Little girls] looked at this image and they didn’t see themselves in it, and they started opting out,” says Saujani.
To counter this, she founded Girls Who Code with a single mission: to close the gender gap in technology. But it's not simply about learning new skills. With summer immersion programs and afterschool clubs in schools and homeless shelters across the United States, Saujani says that Girls Who Code is “really showing [young girls] and opening their eyes to how technology can help them be problem solvers and change agents” that will help make the world a better place.
In Cambridge last spring to give the convocation address at HGSE, Saujani speaks about Girls Who Code's mission and why it is so important to the world.
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The Harvard EdCast is a weekly series of podcasts, available on the Harvard University iTunes U page, that features a 15-20 minute conversation with thought leaders in the field of education from across the country and around the world. Hosted by Matt Weber and co-produced by Jill Anderson, the Harvard EdCast is a space for educational discourse and openness, focusing on the myriad issues and current events related to the field.