Now, get excited! the Next Best Thing does involve savvy computer skills, cool graphics and fun interactivity, but not how you might imagine: behind the inner workings of a beautiful app is a skilled computer engineer that – more often than not – is a male.
Tiger Beat sat down with Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code, who witnessed this troubling statistic and decided to do something about it. She didn’t want teenage girls to be left behind, and her organization is setting out to establish a new frontier for girls in technology.
Tiger Beat: What Inspired Girls Who Code?
Reshma Saujani: There will be 1.4 million jobs in computer science by 2020 â€“ and women are currently on pace to hold just 3% of them. I knew the only way to change that statistic was to do something about it myself. I first learned about the gender gap in technology when I campaigned for Congress in 2010. When I visited schools in New York City, I was amazed at the differences in the way boys and girls approached technology education.
TB: Whatâ€™s your philosophy about getting girls involved with technology?
RS: Coding is the language of the future, and every girl should learn it. As Iâ€™ve learned from watching girls grow and learn in our classrooms, coding is fun, collaborative and creative.
Iâ€™ve also learned that teaching even one girl can have a huge effect. 92 percent of our alumni taught someone else how to code!
TB: What was a turning point in your life as a young adult that led to major growth?
RS: There have been many turning points, but the one that led most directly to Girls Who Code was running for office. That experience forced me to look seriously at how else I could help change the world, and GWC was born soon after!
TB: Whatâ€™s something you would tell your teenage self? And, whatâ€™s your message for teenagers now?
RS: Donâ€™t be afraid of failure. Thatâ€™s not an easy lesson for teenagers â€“ especially teenage girls â€“ to learn. Our society sends us a lot of messages that imply weâ€™re supposed to be ashamed when we fall short. But I think we should be throwing each other failure parties!
TB: Who inspires you?
RS: Twitter Founder and CEO, Jack Dorsey, has been a friend and an inspiration for years. His unwavering support for Girls Who Code has been vital as weâ€™ve grown in the past few years, and his work with his own organizations is a model anyone would be proud to follow.
TB: What are some of your rules to live by?
RS: Embracing failure is the most important trait Iâ€™ve developed in my career. I have tried to learn from my failures, and I believe it has made me stronger, more confident and more resilient.
We can’t think of any better way of becoming our best selves, than by finding something we’re great at! #WhatIWishIKnew
Tell us in the comments – what are your passions?