The founder of Girls Who Code had some very unexpected advice for raising successful girls

How many times have you ever wanted to do something but stopped yourself because you didn’t feel quite ready or didn’t think you were good enough? Probably one time too many. You are not alone. While speaking at Harvard, the founder of Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani, shared her experience with obsessively striving for perfection and how she thinks we can raise more successful women.

Saujani created Girls Who Code in 2012 with the hopes of inspiring, educating, and equipping girls with the computing skills they need to pursue 21st-century opportunities. Five years later, Saujani and her team have taught more than 40,000 girls to code all over the country.

Her personal experiences and her observations through the years make her somewhat of an expert when it comes to inspiring girls and women to aim for success, and that’s why we’re listening with open ears to her advice: She strongly believes that, if women are to lead, they have to be taught to fail.

In her speech to the graduates of Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Girls Who Code founder said,

“We train girls to be perfect — to please and play it safe, to follow the rules, and to always get straight A’s, she said. “The result? Girls are kicking you-know-what in the classroom, but falling behind in the real world. Because in the real world, success is a product of bravery, not perfection.–_V1Y6tU?feature=oembed

Saujani used her own experience working with the girls of Girls Who Code as an example. “The girls in our programs are brilliant,” she said. “They’re talented. But they’re afraid of imperfection — of critical feedback.”

Saujani says as a society, we train our boys to be brave, to “just go for it” without thinking about the fear of failure. She used Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg as an example, saying,

“He was just a sophomore when he dropped out of Harvard to start Facebook. He could have totally failed, with no bachelor’s degree to fall back on. But he just went for it. It’s such a white guy thing to do. It took me 33 years to figure out that brown girls can do white-guy things, too.

She then went on to ask something of her audience of soon-to-be educators:

"Don’t let our girls play it safe. Don’t let them limit themselves to the thing they’re best at, or the thing they think they should do. Push them to be brave. Push them to take risks. Reward them for trying."

If women and girls are taught to act more like white dudes, she said, “We will unleash the most badass generation of women leaders the world has ever seen.”

It’s clear that this is something Saujani is incredibly passionate about, since she shared the same inspirational words in her recent TED talk.

To truly innovate, we cannot leave behind half of our population, she said. “I need each of you to tell every young woman you know to be comfortable with imperfection.”

Reshma Saujani came to inspire, and we’re so here for all the female empowerment.