Teach Girls Bravery, not Perfection


Reshma Saujani, a Ted Speaker, gives a talk about how we are raising boys to be brave and girls to be perfect. But, through her non-profit ‘Girls who Code’ she wants to initiate young women into the tech world.

In 2012, Saujani founded ‘Girls Who Code’ to stoke excitement for computer science among high school women. She began her business by teaching just 20 girls, this year that number has increased to a staggering 40,000. She aims to enroll one million women in the program by 2020 and tech has stepped in to help. Google and Twitter are backers, and engineers at Facebook, AT&T and others have signed on as mentors.

She begins her talk with about how she was strongly advised not to run for congress and when she did it anyway, unfortunately, she lost. However, this is not a story about how to she overcame failure but how for the first time in her life she felt truly brave and didn’t worry about being perfect.

She continues to speak about how some women have said that they gravitate towards careers that they know they will be good in. They are taught to play it safe and just smile and be pretty in order to avoid risk and failure. In contrast to this, she says boys are the opposite. They are encouraged to play rough and aim high.

“We’re raising our girls to be perfect and we’re raising our boys to be brave”

Reshma is worried that we’re losing “our bravery deficit” because we are not raising our girls to be brave, thus women are being underrepresented in a number of areas.

Over 600,000 jobs are available in computer and tech and women are reluctant to apply if they do not meet 100% of the requirements. She says it is because women have become too cautious. There is so much innovation and problems that could be solved if women were socialised to be brave instead of being socialised to be perfect.

As mentioned above, Saujani is the proud founder of ‘Girls Who Code’ where she teaches women to code and encourages them to be brave. She wants to use her business as a platform to build a support network and show girls that they are not alone and it is ok to struggle or not understand sometimes.

She states, that for any economy to grow they “cannot leave half its population behind”

She calls for action to give support to young girls and show them that they will be loved and accepted, not for being perfect but for being courageous!

Check out ted.com for the full talk