How Reshma Saujani is Revolutionizing Tech for Women and Girls

6 minutes
Image: Reshma Saujani, a Women Entrepreneur

It is a common observation of the technology entrepreneur sector to be perceived as a so-called “boy’s club”. It’s rare to find female leaders in these fields. 

There are many factors that come into play, but at the bottom line, it comes to this. The more female entrepreneurs participate and excel in the field, the more they encourage, enable, and create a safe space for other women, and women entrepreneurs, to excel as well.

In this piece, we’d like to highlight an important heroic story, one by Reshma Saujaniq. This lawyer, politician, and civil servant ran for Congress back in 2010, an attempt that was unfortunately unsuccessful.

Her failed attempt was not, however, uneventful. Learning from her experience, Reshma went on to create a space in the tech industry, especially for women, giving many people the opportunity to truly thrive.

Saujini realized that women need to be more equipped than they are in order to conquer and pave their way in male-dominated spaces like computing and engineering.

Uncovering the unavoidable gender gap in various disciplines served as an eye-opener for Reshma. She realized that effective empowerment begins at a young age. 

If we want to see more women leaders in business, more specifically in tech industries, we need to start encouraging young girls in their formative years.

Saujani’s mission is simple: to get more young girls to become confident, well-informed, and educated in their respected fields, thereby shattering the gender stereotypes.

Her Journey as a Women Entrepreneur

The world of technology entrepreneurship has long been dominated by men, with women’s voices and perspectives sorely underrepresented. 

This harsh reality hit home for Reshma Saujani after her failed run for U.S. Congress in 2010. Despite being the first Indian-American woman to run for Congress in New York, Saujani found herself ill-equipped to inspire young girls to pursue careers in historically male-dominated fields like computing and engineering. 

Witnessing the vast gender gap in these disciplines firsthand catalyzed her realization: If we want to see more women leaders, we must empower girls from an early age to embrace bravery over perfection and shatter old stereotypes.

Girls Who Code

Founded in 2012, Girls Who Code is a national non-profit organization on a mission to close the gender gap in technology. 

What started as a weekly coding club has blossomed into a comprehensive catalyst for systemic change, offering coding education and mentorship programs across 300 cities.

As the founder and CEO, Reshma Saujani has spearheaded Girls Who Code’s transformative work, arming girls with the computing skills and confidence needed to pursue 21st century opportunities. 

The organization’s immersive programs span all skill levels, including after-school clubs, summer immersion sessions, facilitator training, virtual curricula, and college alumni support.

Beyond teaching technical skills, Girls Who Code also tackles the social and cultural barriers that often deter young women from STEM fields, fostering a supportive community that celebrates female role models and risk-taking mindsets.

Core Intent

From the outset, Saujani recognized that the mounting gender disparity in technology fields was fueled by far more than just an education gap. 

Entrenched societal norms, stereotypes, and lack of visible role models had cultivated an insidious psychological barrier deterring girls from pursuing their interests in male-dominated fields.

“Most girls are taught to avoid risk and failure. We’re taught to smile pretty, play it safe, and get all A’s.” Saujani explains. “Boys, on the other hand, are taught to play rough, swing high, crawl to the top of the monkey bars, and then just jump off headfirst.”

This pernicious “perfection syndrome” instilled in young girls manifests in stark gender imbalances within tech pipelines. 

Women only earn 18% of computer science bachelor’s degrees in the United States. The numbers revealed a systemic failure to provide young girls with adequate exposure, education, and empowerment to confidently break into these fields.

Simply teaching coding skills alone would not solve the problem. To sustainably tip the scales, Saujani realized a seismic cultural shift was required—one that started at the grassroots by fostering bravery, resilience, and self-assurance in girls from an early age.

Previous well-intentioned efforts to promote women in STEM had fallen short by focusing narrowly on recruitment alone. 

Without simultaneously dismantling the psychological barriers and systemic biases, those surface-level tactics were doomed to achieve limited impact. 

Only by holistically empowering the next generation could the tech gender gap be conquered in earnest.

New approaches to Women Entrepreneurship

Recognizing the need for a radically new approach, Saujani engineered Girls Who Code to serve as a comprehensive pipeline for future tech professionals and leaders. 

By combining intensive coding education with mentorship and a supportive activist community, the organization aimed to inspire lifelong bravery and agency in young women from all backgrounds.

On the curriculum front, Girls Who Code’s signature programs provide immersive, project-based learning that teaches computational thinking, programming fundamentals, robotics, data analytics, and more. 

Using a uniquely gamified approach, girls engage in simulations where they code to solve real-world problems while developing technical expertise.

However, coding proficiency is only one facet of the Girls Who Code experience. Equally vital are the wraparound mentorship and empowerment initiatives woven throughout. 

Each program connects participants with relatable role models—women who have forged successful STEM careers and shattered glass ceilings. 

Through workshops, talks, and individualized coaching, these mentors instill vital mindsets like resilience, risk-taking, and collaborative confidence.

Girls Who Code doesn’t stop there. Its comprehensive efforts extend to systemic change through educator training, outreach programs, and public advocacy. 

The organization has facilitated coding curricula for over 38,000 teachers across 50 states while mobilizing a grassroots movement to reshape societal attitudes around gender and technology.

Crucially, Saujani has centered equity and inclusion as a core tenet, intentionally creating pathways for girls from historically underrepresented communities. 

Over half of Girls Who Code participants come from low-income backgrounds, while programs in all 50 states serve Native American and military communities. 

By prioritizing accessibility and diverse representation, Girls Who Code is democratizing STEM empowerment.

The Impact

The company has taught over 580,000 girls across the U.S.  to code.

The impact that Girls Who Code goes beyond numbers; the organization has enabled a systemic and cultural change in the community. 

The company has provided young girls with the opportunities and encouragement they require to transform into leaders in technology.

The great work done by the organization can be further realized through the growing network of powerful role models and alumni.

For Saujani, her achievements represent something much bigger than just organizational statistics. This has been her lifelong mission. 

On examination and analysis, many key lessons can be extracted from Reshma Saujani’s journey in making Girls Who Code:

  • Saujani’s personal experiences and failures reveal that simple surface-level interventions do not bring impactful change. In order to transform the system, one must look closely at the core issue that lies in the social structures and institutions.
  • Many social, psychological, and cultural barriers play a role in setting back marginalized social groups in many developing fields.
  • Creating an empowering community and cultivating effective and supportive mentorship contribute greatly to the change, rather than simple skill development alone.
  • For progress and inclusivity to be cultivated, access to knowledge and education need to be democratized. 

Girls Who Code serves as an impactful organization that is bringing change and transformation in society. 

The organization not only contributed to cultural inclusivity, but the workings and manifestations of the company also served as inspiration.

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