Girls Who Code's Reshma Saujani Wants You to Tell Every Young Woman to Be Comfortable With Imperfection

After running for Congress when she was 33 years old and suffering from a devastating loss in the polls, MAKER and Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani finally learned to be brave. But when girls and women are not learning to be brave until they are in their early thirties, we know there's a much deeper societal problem we aren't recognizing.

Saujani calls this problem a "bravery deficit" — a deficit that is causing girls to lose out in STEM jobs, board rooms, classrooms, and life, leading to the more well-known "budget deficit."

"Most girls are taught to avoid risk and failure. They're taught to smile pretty, play it safe, get all A's," Saujani stated in her TED Talk. "Boys on the other hand, are taught to play rough, swing high, crawl to the top of the monkey bars and then just jump off head first... They're habituated to take risk after risk. They're rewarded for it."

And because our girls are being raised with different societal expectations, gender diversity is not always possible.

Saujani states that this, therefore, continues a cycle of girls not settling for anything other than perfection, using several examples to highlight this dilemma. According to her, if women meet any less than 100 percent of the qualifications for a job, they won't apply. Men, on the other hand, will apply to a job if they meet at least 80 percent of the job prerequisites.

"We're raising our girls to be perfect and we're raising our boys to be brave... Women have been socialized to aspire to perfection and they're overly cautious," she continued on the matter. Concluding after several studies, that if "We teach girls to be imperfect and we help them leverage it, we will build a movement of young women who are brave and who will build a better world for themselves and for each and every one of us."

Watch Reshma Saujani's exclusive MAKERS story in the video player above to learn more about her, and watch her full TED Talk below.

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