People Magazine: Closing the Gender Gap in Technology: How the Founder of Girls Who Code Is Teaching Girls Coding and Confidence

For Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani, her non-profit organization is about more than just bridging the gender gap in technology — it’s about empowering girls to change the world. Girls Who Code (GWC) has already introduced 10,000 girls to coding through after-school and summer programs. On Tuesday, the organization took steps to expand that reach to one million girls with the launch of a Girls Who Code publishing program and the release of two new books — an official coding guide, Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World, and the first book of the GWC fiction series, The Friendship Code by Stacia Deutsch.

“This is our global movement,” Saujani, 41, said in an exclusive interview with PEOPLE. “I really believe that literary representation matters. So much about representing culture is not through television, it’s through books.”

Saujani founded GWC in 2012 to teach girls coding and deconstruct the belief that coding is an exclusive boys’ club. In other words, a coder doesn’t have to be a “21-year-old white male from Palo Alto,” she says.

The cultural perception of who can and cannot code is reflected in the statistics. In 1984, 37 percent of computer science majors were women, but by 2014 that number had dropped to 18 percent.

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