Reshma Saujani - Creating More Girls Who Code

February 1, 2016 - Reshma Saujani 02/01/2016 Views: 24,109

Reshma Saujani explains why she founded Girls Who Code and suggests ways to get more women into science and technology. (6:03)

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Please welcome Reshma Saujani!

-♪ -(cheering, applause)

(cheering, whistling)

-The people love you.-(laughs)

-MAN: Whoo!-The people love you.

Whoo. Whoo, indeed.

-Welcome to the show.-Thanks for having me.

Thank you so muchfor being here.

Uh, I guessit was fortuitous timing,

in that you're coming to talkabout Girls Who Code

and today was the daythat President Obama announced

the implementation of theimportance of those programs.

Um, let's go backto the beginning.

-Okay.-What got you into this program?

'Cause you yourselfare not a coder.

Totally. I'm not a coder.

I was running for officein 2010,

and I would go from schoolto school to school

and I'd see hundreds of boys

clamoring to be the nextSteve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg.

And I thought to myself,like, where are the girls?

And at a time where we have1.4 million jobs

that are openin computing and technology,

and that women make uphalf the labor force,

they're nowhere in tech.

And so I wantedto do something about it,

and so I started Girls Who Code,in many ways as an experiment,

and we've turned itinto a movement.

-We've taught...-(whooping, applause) -Yes.

We have taught, um... this yearwe'll teach 40,000 girls

in almost every single statein the country.

-It's incredible.-It really is fantastic.

-(applause)-You know what's, um...

what's really interestingabout this is,

in the early 70s, I read,uh... the first coders

-were actually women.-Yeah.

It was women thatgot into coding of computers,

-Yeah. -and then what happenedalong the line?

How did all the womengo out of it?

Yeah, Ada Lovelace,Grace Hopper,

like, you know, the foundationalwomen who created this industry.

Among the first people

who created this industrywere women.

And in the '80s,that number of, you know,

37% of computer sciencegraduates were women;

today it's 18%.

Culture.If you think about the 1980s,

Weird Science, Revenge of the Nerds;

today it's Silicon Valley, HBO--

we've, like, promotedthis bro-grammer myth, right,

-of the dude in the hoodie...-Did you say "bro-grammer"?

-A bro-grammer.-(laughter)

-Of, like, a dudein a hoodie, right, -Yes.

-sitting in a basement...-But a safe hoodie.

-Safe hoodie. Right.-One of those that hangs...

-A very cool, trendy hoodie.-Yeah.

Uh, and, you know,he's staring at his computer,

and little girls look at himand say, "I can't relate."

Like, "That doesn't looklike me."

And you cannot bewhat you cannot see.

-Oh...-So we have to change culture.

So we need Bobby Coder and then,like, Jessica Jones Coder,

and we need...That's what we need, basically.

We need the army of codersthat Girls Who Code has created.

-Absolutely.-I feel like I've seen that

in a lot more TV shows recently.

Like, you'll get a lot of the...

-Like, is it... Criminal Minds. -Yep.

Like, the best person onthe computer there is a woman.

-Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It's changing. -Yeah.

It's just codersthat are slowly coming up.

Yeah. And I think that,you know,

we've been doing a lotto really lobby

and change Hollywood and media.

And I think a lot of these guyswho are writing these shows,

they have daughters,and they see what happens

in eighth grade,and sure enough,

their little girlsare now opting out of this,

and they want to change it, too.

Let's talk aboutthe school system itself.

Because you're not just fightingfor girls to...

go into coding,but you're also talking

about schools themselvesfocusing on coding

as... part of the curriculum,which is not common in America.

No. One out of tenAmerican schools

have computer science--you know, this is a lot

about what the president'sinitiative is about.

We've been working closelywith the White House

-for the past four yearsto make this happen. -Yeah.

And, you know,our kids are still learning,

you know, keyboarding,when they should be learning

HTML and Java-- and especiallywhen it comes to our girls.

So only 21% of AP computerscience test takers are girls.

And, you know,studies show that if girls

take computer sciencein high school,

they're more likely to majorin it when they get to college.

It's a huge, huge problemfor our country.

I really believe it's the mostimportant domestic issue

of our nation's time.

Why do you thinkit's so important, though?

Someone could say to you,"Yeah, but why do girls

need to know how to code?"

Because girls are gonna buildawesome things,

and they're gonna change societyand our world.

So let me give you an example.

You know, we have a Syrianrefugee who built an app

to help Americans getto the poll;

a 16-year-old girlwho built an algorithm

to help detect whether a canceris benign or malignant,

-Wow.-to save her daddy's life.

You know, a young girlwho's Latina,

who, you know, had neverhad access to SAT tutors,

and she built, you know,an app called Wacky Words

to help teach SAT words--she had the courage

to not build somethingfor herself, but others.

Young girls are change agents,and when they have technology,

they're lookingat their community,

they're looking at the world,and they're thinking,

"How could I use technologyto make it better?"

-We need them.-It's an interesting thing

-that you... that you frame,-(whooping, applause)


when you think about it,most people are coding

or creating apps for what they think the world needs.

-Yeah.-So if you are, let's say,

a middle-class white man,your needs are very different

to what maybe a minority,a female, who is thinking

of the worldin a totally different way.

So I guess you're gonna geta variety of apps

-that you don't normally see.-Yeah, and listen,

again, you know, we're gonnateach 40,000 girls this year,

and I see it in every city--they're just constantly thinking

about their worldor their community.

So maybetheir brother's autistic,

or their mother's obese,or they went to Nigeria

and they saw women whodidn't have access to water,

and so whenthey're learning coding,

they're thinking,"Wow, how can I apply this

to something that I have seenin my life?"

And I really believethat when we empower girls

to learn to code, they're justgonna make this world better.

And I want to be a part of that.

How can people get involved?

If people go, "This soundslike an amazing thing.

"I want to get involved, I wantto get my daughter involved,

I want to help you,"what can they do?

So, right now our SummerImmersion Program is open.

So, we have two programs--one, we build classrooms

and technology companiesat Microsoft, Adobe,

AT&T, Facebook and Twitter.

And so those applicationsare up right now,

and so if you're a high schoolgirl, like, apply.

If you have a daughter,a niece or a sister

that's a high school girl,get her to apply.

And we're also lookingfor teachers.

You know,part of Obama's initiative

was to make surethat we have teachers

to train these young girlswho have raised their hand

and said, "Teach me," and sowe're also recruiting teachers.

So come to our Web site,

It's an amazing initiative.

(cheering, applause)

Applications are now openfor the Girls Who Code

Summer Immersion Program.

Visit girlswhocode.comto learn more.

Reshma Saujani, everybody.

-♪ -(cheering, applause)

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