Reshma Saujani, the Indian American founder of Girls Who Code, was recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the "5 Fearless Female Founders to Follow in 2018."
The five “fearless” women are taking on some of the most urgent issues of the day, including the gender gap in tech, disaster relief in Puerto Rico and child marriage in the United States, Forbes said.
In 2010, Saujani entered the world of politics as the first Indian American woman to run for the U.S. Congress, Forbes noted. She didn’t win the race, but her campaign led her to a new mission — closing the gender gap in tech, it said.
During her campaign, Saujani visited schools and saw the gaping gender disparity in computer classes. In response, she launched Girls Who Code, a nonprofit that offers coding camps, clubs and resources to girls across the United States, the magazine noted (see earlier India-West story here).
In 2017, the need for the mission is clearer than ever with female engineers coming forward to report discrimination and harassment at Silicon Valley companies and a sexist manifesto against diversity initiatives being circulated at Google, the publication said.
“Right now, in computing and tech, women are being left behind, and it means our economy is being left behind on all the innovation and problems women would solve if they were socialized to be brave, instead of being socialized to be perfect,” Saujani declared in her TEDTalk.
Saujani earned a degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Harvard University and Yale Law School.
She worked at the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, where she defended securities fraud cases and on a pro bono basis handled asylum cases. In 2005, she joined the investment firm Carret Asset Management.
She then joined Blue Wave Partners Management, a subsidiary of the Carlyle Group, the global alternative asset management firm specializing in private equity, where she was an associate general counsel.
Additionally, before her run for Congress, Saujani was a deputy general counsel at Fortress Investment Group. She founded Girls Who Code in 2012.
Other women on the list included Horn of Africa Development Initiative founder Fatuma Abdulkadir Adan, Tewa founder Rita Thapa, Circle of Health International founder Sera Bonds, and Unchained at Last founder Fraidy Reiss.