I have often heard that success often occurs as part of a domino effect: one grant will lead to another, one shared article will lead to requests to write another, etc etc. Elite levels of success tend to be very political, filled with personal connections and helping hands. Following this line of thinking, in order for women to access these higher levels of success, they must first be given an opportunity at achieving a baseline level of success--a feat that women often believe they cannot achieve thanks to societal teachings, socialization processes, and ingrained gender biases.
Reshma Saujani experienced this self-doubt first hand: “Yet I heeded the message society gives so many young women: You’re a girl; don’t worry about math and technology.”
But now Saujani is addressing the gender gap in technology success by empowering young girls to believe that they have the intelligence and skills necessary to learn how to code. Now she runs Girls Who Code, which involves school clubs and an intensive Summer Immersion Program to inspire young girls and encourage them to believe in their own self worth.
The enthusiasm and need for such a program is evident in the fact that participation has more than tripped in the past year. Endeavors like these will help close the gender gap in a variety of disciplines. Women encouraging other women will ensure that future generations of women are supported and confident enough to compete and succeed in male-dominated fields.
Even more impressive is the impact these programs are having. In 2014, 90 percent of the GWC Summer Immersion Program alumnae are either majoring or planning to major in computer science or mechanical/electrical engineering in college. Of those studying computer science, 77 percent cited Girls Who Code as significantly changing their trajectory.