“We’re raising our girls to be perfect, and we’re raising our boys to be brave…our economy is being left behind on all the innovation and problems women would solve if they were socialized to be brave instead of socialized to be perfect”
Reshma Saujani, Founder of Girls Who Code, has a point, and one that I’d never considered. I remember noticing in elementary school that it seemed like the girls were so much smarter than the boys, getting better grades and trying harder and caring more, and I couldn’t understand why people were telling me that boys would get more and better jobs than me, a girl. It seemed at the time like girls should be getting more and better jobs.
But now, as I reflect, I realize – I have always strove for perfection. I’ve called myself a “perfectionist” and prided myself on my attention to detail. But while I was busy doing things I knew I could make perfect and giving up on things I couldn’t, perhaps my male counterparts weren’t giving up. They were trying harder and failing more and growing from their failures and as a result, having fewer but greater successes, which led them to having more and better jobs. And I wonder – where would I be, would I be different, if I had been more inclined toward bravery than toward perfection? Where would the world be if all children had been taught to “climb to the top of the monkey bars and jump off, head first”?
Girls Who Code was founded in 2012 in an effort to close the gender gap in technology and engineering, and by the end of 2016, Girls Who Code will have reached 40,000 girls in every US state. Saujani has used coding as a tool to resocialize girls and women to take risks and fail, rather than play it safe and succeed. I’m very proud of Strong Women, Strong Girls for joining this effort as well – featuring Malala Yousafzai in the curriculum last fall, with the aligned skill as bravery. I’m excited to be a part of an organization that is teaching girls to dream and do in big, bold, brave ways.
Jenie Michael is the Development and Communications Assistant at the Strong Women, Strong Girls Boston office, as well as a mentor with the Northeastern Chapter. You can contact her at [email protected]