Reshma Saujani may be a name not known to many outside the world of tech or the world of US politics, but she is a stalwart in her own right. A passionate advocate of encouraging women in STEM she founded the non-profit organization ‘Girls who code’ in 2012, an organization which aims to close the gender gap in technology. Reshma also is a well-known democratic politician in America. In 2010 she ran for congress from the 14th district in New York, becoming the first Indian-American woman to run for congress. Saujani also got a mention in the Forbes 40 under 40 list. Saujani frequently contributes to Huffington Post and has been featured on channels such as MSNBC and Fox.An inspirational speaker she has also been invited as speaker on the Ted Talks series, and is the author of Girls who code and Women who don’t wait in line: Break the Mold, Lead the Way
Reshma Saujani was born in Illinois to Gujarati Indian parents, and graduated from the University of Illinois, where she majored in Political Science and speech communication. She also earned the Master of Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1999 before going on to Yale University, where she received her Juris Doctor.
Career and Politics
She started her political career in 2008, when she was selected to be a part of the National Financial Board for Hillary Clinton and served as the Vice- Chairperson of the New York delegation, at the Democratic National Convention. In 2010 she fought in the Democratic primaries, against incumbent Carolyn Maloney. A campaign in which she was supported by well-known personalities like such as Randi Zuckerberg, sister of Mark Zuckerberg and director of market development for Facebook. She also received support from many fund raisers in New York’s elite Upper East Side.
Prior to politics Saujani started her career as an attorney at Davis Polk and Wardwell LLB, where she was in charge of handling cases related to securities fraud. Her varied career interests saw her working in an Investment firm Carret Asset Management and Blue Waves Partners Management where she worked as an associate general counsel. She also worked as deputy general counsel at Fortress General Investment, a company which closed down in the global economic crash of 2008. She founded the non-profit organization Girls Who Code in 2012.
Girls who Code
Reshma Saujani founded Girls who code in 2012, to encourage women to participate actively in computer science related fields and close the gender gap in technology. The non-profit organization aims to support and increase the number of women in computer science. Saujani started the organization in response to her observation of the shortage of girls in computer classes during her campaign trail. The organization offers programs during the academic year to teach high school girls web design, robotics, programming and other computing skills. The girls get to work on exciting projects and even make field trips to tech companies such as Twitter and Facebook. Currently there are more than a hundred Girls who code clubs in America, and three thousand students completed the program by Dec 2014. Girls who Code has also partnered with global tech company Accenture to bring more girls to the table for the discussion on future of tech.
An avid go-getter, Reshma Saujani believes in changing the age old stereotype of raising boys to be brave and girls to be perfect. In an inspiring speech on Ted Talks she exhorted women and girls to take more risks and shared her concerns about bias towards woman in the tech industry.
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