Reshma Saujani

Founder, Girls Who Code
Author of “PAY UP: The Future of Women and Work (And Why It’s Different Than You Think)"

Hosted by the Public Lectures Committee, Reshma Saujani will deliver a talk, "Brave Not Perfect, a lecture that is being co-sponsored by GradFUTURES. 

Reshma Saujani, a first-generation American whose parents were Indian refugees from Uganda, grew up in Illinois and attended the University of Illinois (majoring in political science) and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government before earning her J.D. from Yale Law School. She began her career as an attorney and political organizer. In 2010 she ran for U.S. Congress, campaigning for the U.S. House of Representatives seat for New York’s 14th district. She later served as New York City’s deputy public advocate, creating new partnerships to support DREAMers and promote campaign finance reform, among other initiatives.

During her congressional campaign, Saujani witnessed the stark gender imbalance in computing classes while visiting local schools, inspiring her to start Girls Who Code, which equips girls and young women with computing skills to be competitive in the technology sector, in 2012. Ten years later, the organization has taught more than 500,000 girls through direct in-person and virtual computer science education programming and generated 14 billion engagements globally through marketing and advocacy campaigns. Girls Who Code, which is working toward a goal of closing the gender gap in new entry-level tech jobs by 2030, was named the most innovative nonprofit organization by Fast Company magazine in 2019.

Today Saujani is a leading activist and author of the bestseller “PAY UP: The Future of Women and Work (And Why It’s Different Than You Think),” published in 2022. Her 2016 TED Talk, “Teach girls bravery, not perfection,” has attracted more than five million views globally. In January 2021 she launched the Marshall Plan for Moms, which advocates for policies to address the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on American mothers. She has worked with federal lawmakers to introduce legislation focused on policies that value women’s labor in and out of the home and on changing the culture of support for mothers in the United States. In early 2022, Saujani was named Leader of the Year in the inaugural Anthem Awards for her work on the Marshall Plan for Moms.

Saujani, who serves on the boards of Harvard University, the Economic Club of New York, and mParticle, has been recognized among Fortune World’s “Greatest Leaders,” by Fortune in its “40 Under 40” list, as the WSJ Magazine “Innovator of the Year,” as one of Forbes’s “Most Powerful Women Changing the World,” and in Fast Company’s listing of the “100 Most Creative People.” She is also the winner of the 2018 Harold W. McGraw Jr. Prize in Education, awarded annually by the Harold W. McGraw Jr. Family Foundation and the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.

She lives in New York City with her husband, Nihal; their sons, Shaan and Sai; and their bulldog, Stanley.