How I Taught Millions Of Women The Most Important Skill: Girls Who Code Founder: Reshma Saujani | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "How I Taught Millions Of Women The Most Important Skill: Girls Who Code Founder: Reshma Saujani".

1970-01-02T02:06:38.000Z

Note: This transcription is split and grouped by topics and subtopics. You can navigate through the Table of Contents on the left. It's interactive. All paragraphs are timed to the original video. Click on the time (e.g., 01:53) to jump to the specific portion of the video.


Introduction

Intro (00:00)

I gotta figure out how to teach every single girl to code. That's how the world's gonna be a better place. - Founder of CEO of Girls Who Code. - Best-selling author, Reshma Syangh. - I was often bullied at school. Our house would get her spray paint and go back to your own country. And my mother just takes a look at me and she's just crying. And I remember thinking, I will never be silent. So I ran for Congress. The New York Times finally acknowledged my race and they sent a reporter. They were knocking on doors. We had young girls having my poster up. She then decides to write a story about my shoes. - Yeah, fuck. - I'm not buying into that bullshit. I wasn't gonna let failure break me. When I started Girls Who Code, 0.4% of girls were interested in coding. And then we ended up with 10,000 Girls Who Code clubs. And then we exploded in India and in the UK. And girls were interested in making the world a better place. - In building Girls Who Code, tell me about the other side. - You know, at the same time, I was trying to build Girls Who Code. I was trying to have a baby. I had more miscarriages than I can count. Think when you are a social entrepreneur and you're building something, the work is never done. And it's always at the sacrifice of others. For me, I got that really wrong. Really wrong. - So what advice would you give to people who are probably veering towards another rock bottom in their lives? - I think... - So without further ado, I'm Stephen Bartlett. And this is the Dyer Over CEO USA edition. I hope nobody's listening. But if you are, then please keep this yourself. - Freshman.


Personal Journey & Advocacy Work

Growing up as an immigrant (01:38)

I am, as I was reading through your story, it reminded me of a quote that I read many years ago. And I saved this quote in my bookmarks in Twitter. And so I went and looked for this quote when I knew you were coming here today. And it somewhat resonated with me in terms of your story. The quote is, "My parents were tasked with the job of survival and I was self-actualization. The immigrant generational gap is real. What a luxury it is to search for purpose, meaning and fulfillment." And I know you came, at least your parents came here from Uganda. Take me back, take me back to your childhood and the context in which you were molded. - Yeah. Well, my parents escaped the dictator, Edie and me, in 1973. They changed their names from Mukund and Madu to Mina and Mike. 'Cause I think a recruiter told my dad that the only way he was gonna get a job as an engineer instead of he was working as a machinist in a factory was to change his name. I think about them often because I can't imagine in my 20s coming to a new country, leaving your entire family or having to leave your entire family, not having a single person that you know, not knowing the language and having to build a life for yourself. And they did it with a smile. They never really complained about it. And then everything became about giving us the life that they had sacrificed so much to have. - When you have parents that come from that background, as you've written about, what they want for you as a child tends to be centered on you being able to survive in the world. And you wrote that when parents have, that might've been a quote you said, when parents have lots of resources, they care more about you following your passions. When they're like first generation immigrants, they care about you also getting into a career where your survival is guaranteed. What did they want for you at that age? And what did you want for yourself? - You know, I think they wanted me to be a doctor, a lawyer or an engineer. And they wanted me to have a career where I could be upwardly mobile, right? For them, it's always about like, okay, if we're making $40,000 a year, I want you to make 80. I want you to do better than I'm doing. But so much about steam was about drawing in the lines, not calling attention to yourself. I was a very different child. I led my first march when I was 13 years old. And I think there was a moment, I talk about this sometimes, we grew up in this very white working class family in the Midwest and I was often bullied at school. And my mother was harassed for wearing a sari as a Kmart, our house would get tee-pied or spray painted, go back to your own country. And remember this one day, some kids, it's literally spray painted on the side of our house, go back to your own country. And I woke up that morning, my father was sitting with a jar of Clorox and he was just quietly cleaning the side of the house. And I think he was like humming a Bollywood tune. And I remember watching him and thinking, I will never be like him. I will never be silent. I will never not fight. And for him, I think that that was the task that you had to pay to be in this country. And I think there's so many microaggressions or just obvious racism that he faced in the workplace, opportunities he didn't get, the name calling, all of it. Never talked about it, never made him angry. And I think part of that was about making sure that we had a different life. I have the story that I've told before, but the last day of eighth grade, it's a big celebration. There's been this girl that had been harassing me the entire time at school, calling me names. Back then they would call somebody a haji as a derogatory term for somebody who was brown. And so she called me this name and she said, and she basically challenged me to a fight. And instead of saying no or ignoring her, I was like, all right, I'll meet you at the back of the schoolyard. And I remember right at the end of the day, the bell rings, my best friend's food was like, just get on the bus, just get on the bus. And I'm like, no, I don't know what it was. Maybe it was 'cause of the last day of school, but I show up to that schoolyard. And the entire schoolyard is just full of kids. And everyone's screaming and they're spray paint and confetti. And she just comes up to me in a bank and then her friend has a baseball bat. And I basically get beaten up. Badly with a tennis racket and a baseball cap. And I came to my friend who got blessed her, drags me home. And I remember walking in and my mother just takes a look at me and she's just crying. And she's looking at my father, why'd you bring me to this country? Why'd you bring me to this country? - He said so. - She says that. And they don't call the police. They don't call the school. They're just crying. And I am like, I have like a concussion, you know? And the next day is my eighth grade graduation. And my sister reminded me, she said, you woke up the next morning and you look at mom and dad and you say, I'm going to graduation. And I have this beautiful blue lace dress. And my sister calls her friend over who like did my makeup. And again, we go to graduation. My father, I think, finds the parents. Parents just say, laugh and say, kids are kids. And again, my mother cries, why did you bring me this country? But that was a shift in myself. Because I think up until that point, I was trying to be white. You know, I was mad that my parents made me rage-buns that have Rachel. You know, I was mad that I sometimes spelled like Indian food. You know, I was mad that I couldn't go to church and know what they were talking about, that we believed, you know, in Krishna instead of Jesus. And at that moment, everything shifted. And I realized that I'm not white. I'm never going to be accepted. And so I better be proud of who I am and I better fight for who I am and for people like me. - If I removed that experience from your history, what would I be removing from your character? - Oh my God, everything, everything. I am, I think, 100% of who I am from that moment. Again, I think the year later, I led my first march. I started my first organization called Prism Prejudice Reduction Interested Students Movement. I got better at naming organizations. The older I got, but that's when I became a warrior. You know, that's when I became a fighter. And so I'm so grateful to have had that trauma because it's made me who I am, but I will be honest, I don't think I have fully processed it. I don't remember, I don't like relive that moment until other people who were there like, "Do you remember that app?" Like, even my sister reminding me that I woke up the next day being like, "Do you know that you said that you're gonna go to graduation?" I gotta remember that. So I still do think that even though these experiences are transformative, they are, they're painful. Right now we're going through in New York City, all of this Asian hate and all these hate crimes that are happening against Asian Americans in New York City and across the country. And as they've been happening, I think I've been thinking about the stuff because I was like, "One day I was like, 'Oh, I can count the amount of times, literally.'" And that's sad that you can count the amount of times that something has happened to you hateful or violent. But I think part of surviving is about, sometimes blocking out these moments or rewriting what they meant to you in the future. But in the past, it was painful. But in the future, it can be empowering, it can be inspiring. 'Cause you can tell the story and you can fundamentally change me. I don't think I would have built the movements that I'm building right now. I don't have that, I can feel pain, know what it's like to be not accepted, to be ostracized, to be hated. - And when you got into the working world after you had to yell, right? - Yeah, three times after I finally got in. - Oh, really? - Oh, I was obsessed. - You tried to get in three times. - Yeah, tried to get in three times. I, again, grew up in a working class community. Nobody went to Yale, Harvard. I joke that there's some like Indian auntie, at the temple that talked about some kid that I never met them. Everybody went to community school, state school. I didn't even know how I would apply. I don't even think I ever applied to university. But I knew from a young age that I wanted to do something. And I knew that I lived in a country where credentials mattered, especially as a woman of color. And that if you had that Yale or Harvard degree, people were gonna believe in you, or at least open some doors. And that was always my, from the time I was 13 years old, going to Yale Law School was always the thing I was chasing. - So I had an argument with a guy on Twitter one day. He's actually a friend of mine. And I've always, because I dropped out of university, went for one lecture, not for me, left. And he made the case to me, which sounds very similar to the case you've just made to me, which is as a sort of an immigrant, getting that stamp from one of universities is one way to kind of get security around your future. And I, 'cause I was kind of in the camp that most university degrees are actually a huge amount of debt, which you become like encumbered with. And then you get very little in terms of delivery versus the amount of debt and time it takes to get that degree. And that there's other ways. But he made that point to me, that for immigrants. In fact, getting that stamp or that certificate is actually one way that they can secure their future. What was your stance on that? - Yeah, I mean, I think it's a credential. I don't know how much it matters now. Like now when I hire people, I wanna know about your grit, your hustle, like how you work, your work ethic, less about work. I don't even think I know where half the people who work for me go went to school, nor do I pay attention to it. - Any of them. - But I think when I was growing up, it did matter. But I will say that being in those kinds of institutions, I often would just sit in my chair and watch, watched at how people with power navigate. And I think that that then taught me a lot. And I would say it's on the boards that I sit on today. A lot of it is just watching how people operate and how people navigate. You know, going to Yale Law School, I say I said, I never could raise my hand. 'Cause all these kids had gone to these fancy private schools and I don't know what they were talking about. And I felt like I didn't belong. And so that's the bad part of it, right? 'Cause you feel like you kind of snuck in and you're not able to fully step into your power and articulate and be who you want to be. But I think it was a really powerful experience for me in grit, because again, I kept applying, I kept applying, I kept applying, I kept applying. And I finally transferred to Yale Law School and got in and got that degree. Now, do I think I would still be the same person if I didn't have a degree from Yale and a master's degree from Harvard? Yeah. 'Cause at the end of the day, it wasn't those things that made me who I am today. - You leave with $300,000 in debt? - A lot of debt. - That is ridiculous. - Yeah, I blame my father. - In our, in the UK, we don't get that much debt.


University dept (13:10)

We get, I'm a 50K if you're, you know, the badly, but you know, that's probably the top end, but $300,000 in debt when you join the working world, that forces your hand a little bit when you join the working world, right? In terms of the jobs that you can take, 'cause you need to pay that off. - Totally forced, man. Yeah, because I would have liked when I graduated to go be a civil rights lawyer, but instead I get an offer from a fancy law firm where I'm making, you know, a couple thousand bucks a month, and I didn't do the math on the interest payments, you know, or how long it would actually take for me to pay off this debt because that was just, that was just principal and not interest. And now, you know, basically 23 years later, I'm still paying it off. But I think that we're, that's why I think so many people who actually want to make a difference because they have student loan debt aren't able to, and then wait and wait and wait. And you see all these good ideas kind of die on the vine, because now you're stuck working for the man, and you literally feel stuck, and you don't know how to get out. - How did you feel? - Oh, I was miserable. I mean, because that wasn't the plan. You know, the plan when I graduated law school was, you know, to run for office, and I would just go take this law firm job, and after a couple years I would quit and go do the thing. But then I got stuck because I, now I was helping my parents with, you know, some of their finances. I was living, this very, I had this apartment that I had to pay rent for, and I was then living a life that, you know, saddled me to that desk, and I was getting older. And then 10 years passed by. And I don't know about you, but for me, I rise like a phoenix from the ashes. And what I mean by that, like, is I have to be at my bottom of like, anxiety, depression, despair, and then I make a change. And I really did find myself, you know, at age 33, like every night barely being able to get out of bed, you know, and have an enlarged glass of wine and just cry. - One. - Because I, it was like, is this my life? I, you know, they say in Hinduism, like, you have a Dharma, like what you put on this earth to do. And I feel so blessed that from the time I was a little girl, I knew what my Dharma was. I remember just laying on the grass, looking at the clouds, and just imagining this life of being a change maker, of making a difference in the world. And here I was, 2008, the world is falling apart, and I'm sitting in the frickin' hedge fund as a lawyer. Like, what? I'm so far away from that little girl who's staring at the clouds. And I didn't know how to get out from this life that I felt very stuck by because I wasn't rich. I didn't have all this money in the bank account. And I did have also, I think, the expectations of my immigrant parents, because I was doing what the good Indian girl was supposed to be doing. I was a lawyer in a law firm. And nobody I knew had the path that I wanted to take. So I didn't even know how to get there. And I didn't know who to ask. I didn't know who was gonna give me the playbook. And so I was lost. And I remember I had one of my best friends, Deepa, happened to call me at this moment, and she just said, "Just quit." And there was nothing like profound. But there was something about, I think hearing those words at the right time in my life that was like, "Yeah, I can just quit." Like I can, and I did. And the second call I made was to my father. And I remember him saying, "Bita, yes, quit." And then I was like, "Whoa." Like, 'cause I had built him up as the reason that I was not chasing my dreams. And by getting that permission, I realized, "Oh, I was the one. It was my fear of taking a risk that was actually standing in the way of me actually doing what I was meant to do." So then I didn't have any more excuses. And I ran for Congress. - Isn't it amazing that we, most of us, especially I think kids of first generation immigrants, end up trying to live out our parent's dreams. And then the other thing is this kind of miscalculation of risk I continue to hear about. And then I kind of faced in my own life that we believe the risk is not fulfilling the external expectation. Whereas it's so evidently clear from every person that I've sat here with that the actual risk, if you just zoom out, ends up being not following the dreams of that girl staring up at the stars, that actually is the risk. In fact, the courageous thing to do, the most risky thing to do is to stay in the law firm because you're risking the most important thing of all your happiness. - Yeah. - And if you can like refrain that and understand that, like I say this sometimes to when I meet young people in there in jobs, they go, "You're the risk takers. "I'm not, I'm the coward. "I couldn't take the risk you guys are taking." And I think if you just reframe it, which is clearly what your life has proven to be, it's proven that the biggest risk was actually staying. It can be a really liberating force. And off you go, you run for Congress, which is a tremendous thing to do.


Running for congress (18:23)

- Yeah, crazy thing to do. I was 33. I was the first South Asian American, any American woman to run for Congress in the United States. I had no idea what I was doing. Like I said, like I didn't have, I couldn't be like, "Hey dad, "you know, will you build me a campaign strategy?" Or, "And I had to kind of figure it out on my own." And also like people, I mean, I ran against this very powerful, very vindictive woman who was not someone who was gonna take lightly to this young brown girl running against her for her seat. - Did she criticize you? - Oh my God, still. - But still? - Yeah, she hasn't really gotten over it still. But in some ways though, it was, it's good because it wasn't an easy thing to do. Meaning it wasn't, it'd be much easier if the seat was open or if the other person was like, "This is great." You know, we have competition in the race, but I really, it was such a beautiful experience 'cause I was so damn naive. Like I really thought that I could shake every hand, meet every voter and I would win. But it was the best experience of my life because it's how I learned how to be an entrepreneur because you know, when you run a campaign, it's like starting a business and shutting it down in the span of 10 months. You gotta hire people, you know, you gotta raise money, you gotta figure out what your message is, what your brand is, it's exactly what taught me. That experience is what taught me to build girls with code and martial plan for moms. And what gave me probably the confidence to do it, you had to walk into rooms. I mean, I had to walk into rooms of like, you know, 65 year old seniors who couldn't even pronounce my name, who would ask me where my religion was, right? It was wild. And I'd never run on television before. My first TV interview was Chris Matthews, which was the largest news time show he was so mean to me. I didn't even know where to look in the screen. It was a mess. I didn't know how to dress. I had never given a like a speech in front of people before. I remember I would like literally practice my speech and memorize it and pace my little apartment, you know? And so everything was just scary, but amazing. It was the best, best still probably the best 10 months of my life. - When you make that decision to run for public office and that person starts criticizing you, probably quite personally, probably quite based on character. That's the best way to, I think, just credit a political opponent. How does that actually feel in the moment? 'Cause especially reflecting on your childhood. - Yeah, it was devastating because I was the, well, first, a lot of incredible feminists, like Geraldine Ferraro, were like, trying to get me his glorious sign and was like, why are you running? Like, these are women who I admired. Because again, I think when you, and I thought I would go to these campaign events and people would say, well, young people need to run. Young women, you should run for office one day. And I naively thought, well, look, I'm running. Like, isn't there, you know, isn't there, when I do what you've been talking about with the movement needs? But really what they meant is like, run, but don't run against me. And don't run against one of us. And also, I think the second part of my story was very inspirational, being the daughter of immigrants, you know, coming from a working class background. So they really had to shift my narrative. And she did a really good, because I came from Wall Street. You know, I wasn't running Wall Street. I was, you know, a lawyer, a junior lawyer at Wall Street. But so that narrative shift happened. And because I had never known how to control my own narrative, I lost that battle. And I often found myself on the defensive and people are mean. And I would make the mistake of reading the comment section. And it was really, really tough, really tough. And I never got to be the person that I was. You remember this one time that we finally got the New York Times to do, you know, a story on our race. And I had now, I was this brown girl, I had raised more money than any Democrat challenger. I was actually the only Democrat. I was the first Democrat challenger in many ways in the history. Now it's very common, you know, Alexandria Ocasio, my friend, right, it's very good. But back then it was like never done. So I was like this upstart, you know, that was making waves. And in many ways I think helped open the path up for people like Alex to actually say, "Yeah, we got to fight the establishment." But I remember the last week, the New York Times finally acknowledged my race and they sent a reporter. She followed me around the whole day where not gonna end doors and immigrant communities were walking into like, you know, communities in Queens where you had young Bangladeshi girls having my poster up being like, "I wanna be like her one day." And how revolutionary it was, especially for the community, to see someone who looks like them running for office. And I remember she then decides to write a story about my shoes. - Yeah, fuck. - You know, not a word about my campaign, but about my shoes. And it was, you know, again, such an example of what we do to young women, young people of color when they run. You know, we make it a caricature. We don't take them seriously. And then people don't take them seriously. I lose like spectacularly. And I was shocked that I lost. I had not even written my concession speech. We had booked this hotel room in New York City that we could not afford. And my campaign organizers had posted the entire room with all these notes. I can't wait to be in Washington. This is the bill we're gonna pass. This is a change we're gonna make. I had literally, 'cause what happens when you're running for office, you go to these New York City subway stops and you hand out your campaign. And everyone was like, I voted for you. I voted for you. I voted for you. So I was like, I got this. It's a bag, you know? Like, oof, it's gonna be an upset. And then I'm sitting there. My father's kind of sitting with me and we're watching the election returns come in. And like, five minutes in, it's done. My dad's like, I'm going to bed. I'm like, thanks dad. I wanted to cry so bad. I was devastated. And I had no contingency plan. And I had literally picked a fight with some very powerful people. And I remember there's this young woman who, every morning was like with me and she was like, basically my body person as they call it. She's just looking at me, Rebecca. And I was like, I'm not gonna cry. 'Cause I know she's gonna remember this moment for the rest of her life and I need to show strength. And so I sit up there in my victory party, everybody's crying, the entire place is crying. I'm standing there and I'm just like, you know, gonna do it again. Tell me you worry. And then I came back to my hotel room and then I cried and cried for like a month. - And how do you pick yourself up from there and rise from me as she's once again to found Girls Who Code and sort of, I guess Karen, carrying on with your life. - Drinking a lot of margaritas. No, but seriously, I think I've read a lot about competitive athletes and for a lot of them, what makes them great is they had something that happened in their career early on. They didn't get picked in the first draft. You know, they missed that one shot and it puts kind of a chip on their shoulder. Like, I'm gonna show you. And that's what this bracelet for me. It was like I didn't get picked in the first draft, but I knew what my potential was and I was gonna show you. And I wasn't gonna let failure break me. - Take some time to get to that place, right? The dust has got to settle, the tears have got to be cried and then-- - It took me a month. - Yeah. I also have a hack on failure that has worked for me, which is I let myself ruminate about it, you know, then talk to my boyfriend, now my husband, I'm a million. Why did that happen? What mistake did I make? You know, my father sent me a nice long email about the 10 things I did wrong. - Really? - Saffy. - Brutal. Listen, Indian parents, you know what I mean? And then I was done and I said, and I was ready to move on and started thinking about what I was gonna build next, the campaign maybe that I would run for next. So the first, I think for me, the first, that was my first really big failure. And I think sometimes the first one is easier because I kind of could tell myself, well, I did make some mistakes. If I did that differently, if I, you know, hired that person, if I didn't say that, then maybe I would have won. So my first campaign loss was easier than my second one. You also understand the system the second time round, right? So like the first time you're actually learning the system you're playing with, and you said it yourself, you didn't realize that people would be doing these character assassinations. - Yeah. - And I was saying with my first business, I didn't understand the system in which you build a business and hiring and all these things. So yeah, you can reflect on it and say, oh, naivety. - Right. - Right.


Starting Girls Who Code (27:54)

- Right. - But then what happens next? - So for me next, I said, well, I'm not going back to that. I'm not going to do that. I'm going to have to deal with being broke. And what are all, and I loved, I loved meeting people on the campaign trail. I loved talking to them. I loved hearing about their problems. And I'm still that 13 year old girl who wants to make a difference in the world. Still the Dharma warrior. And I was like, okay, well, what, of all the things I saw in the campaign trail, what moved me? And when I ran for office, it was in 2010. So it was when tech was starting to boom, Twitter was just coming up, Facebook, Instagram. And I would go into computer science classrooms and robotics labs, and I would just see lines and lines and lines of voice trying to be the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg. And because I wasn't a coder or computer scientist, I was like, where are the girls? Where are the people of color? And I kept thinking about those classrooms. And so then I spent the next year basically on my lunch breaks and in my evenings, just learning everything about why there weren't girls and women encoding. And started kind of writing a business plan that became Girls We Code and started plotting my next run. So I basically ended up running for public advocate of New York City, which is kind of like the second position to mayor, and then launching Girls We Code at the same time. That's a lot to have on one's plate. Mm hmm. It was. Would you recommend that? Well, the way I played out, I would recommend it because I, it all ended up working out good for Girls We Code because I lost the public advocate's race was about, I'm gonna make sure that every kid in New York City learns how to code. I lose that race. This time I realized, wow, like politics is just, it's not, well, I like to say, it's not a performance sport. It's not a meritocracy. It's not like the person with the best ideas wins. And now I've run, you know, one, I've taught 20 girls to code. And so now I'm like, all right, if you're not gonna elect me, I'm still gonna teach every girl to code. I'm gonna teach every girl in America to code, and then the world. And then I really have a chip on my shoulder because now I didn't get picked for the first draft. I didn't get picked for the second draft either. - Mm. And you use those skills, right? So you've learned a bunch of skills along the way and this is one of the blessings of failure. You get to learn all of these wonderful skills about the nature of the world and people and fundraising. And I'm guessing in many ways that was failure had been a blessing because without those two draft misses, you wouldn't have all these amazing skills you have now, right? - Totally. I think with the biggest skill that I learned in being in campaigning is how do you tell a story? How do you inspire people? How do you connect to people? And by my second campaign, I don't have the written out speech in my pocket. I don't have the suit on. I got my hoops and my red lipstick. And I am communicating and I'm there and I'm present. And I have nothing to prove. And I fight back when people do the character assassination. I'm not easily convinced when people say that they're gonna support me, that they're gonna really support me. Like I can see people now. And so I lose that race, but you're right. I learn so much and I become more comfortable in my skin and who I am. - And Girls Who Code, really phenomenal thing. I read that you've reached over almost half a million girls with, right? Is that half a million girls that have learnt to code? That is crazy. - That we've actually gone through our coding programs and then we've reached about a half a billion through our work, our books, our videos, our campaigns. We've reached a lot of kids. A lot of people. - Tell me about this organization. How does it look? How does it function? Is it how has it just contributed all over the world? I read that there's 1,500 girls who code clubs around the world as well. - Yeah, well there was 10,000. So yeah, and in the UK. - It's 10,000. - 10,000 girls who code. Well, so it started like basically the model was when I started Girls Who Code, 0.4% of girls were interested in coding and girls were interested in making the world a better place. But when they thought about a computer scientist, they thought about some guy sitting in the basement somewhere drinking a red bowl and they were like, yeah, no thank you. And we just culturally had done such a good job of pushing girls and people of color out of technology. We had Barbie dolls that said, I hate math, let's go shopping instead. Every image that you saw on television, from weird science to Revenge of the Nerds, was just again, these like really nerdy white dudes. And so it didn't feel very inclusive. And so at Girls Who Code, what I wanted to do is one, meet girls where they were at and two change the culture. And so what I mean by meet girls where they were at, I started thinking, well, if girls went to technology companies like a Facebook or a Spotify and they walked in and they saw what was happening, they actually learned to code embedded in a classroom inside a tech company. And that the project while they were there was to build something about a change that they wanted to make. Again, connecting it to what girls wanted to do, then I can then inspire a generation of young women to want to be coders and technologists. And so we started kind of one tech company at a time and we would build these summer camps. And years, basically in a handful of years we were running kind of the largest summer camp in America. And then we started expanding that. And then part of, as an organizer, I wasn't really, I wasn't building a nonprofit, I was building a movement. And what I would say to my students, I would say, okay. 'Cause the experience for them was transformative. I mean, it was just, you saw these girls just explode in terms of like what they wanted to do. The sisterhood that they built in every classroom was basically, you know, white, Asian, black, trans, non-binary, and just, and so many girls had never met, you know, girls who were white had never met, someone was black before, never been friends but somebody was trans. So like you were basically creating, quite frankly what the world should look like in terms of love and empathy and sisterhood. And so I would say, you know, during the graduation I want to ask from you, I want you to go back to your community and I want to go back to your school and I want you to start a club and I want you to find one girl that's gonna join. And so they like met me on my challenge. And so then one girl and then a hundred girls and then we ended up with 10,000 girls who code clubs across the country in every single county, town, in Paris and then we exploded in India and in the UK and same model, right, where you had basically girls going back to their communities, volunteers, librarians, teachers, people saying, I want to start, I want to help you build this move but I want to start this club. And so we just had this massive explosion and then culturally we started slowly, slowly, slowly, changing the narrative and making coding cool. You know, last year we did a partnership with Doja Cat, you know, when we basically coded her nails, literally in one day Steven, a hundred thousand girls signed onto the website to basically learn how to code nails. And now 10 years later, you know, you turn on Netflix and you watch any teen drama, which I love to watch. You know, the protagonist is always a cool girl coder. And so we've made coding cool, we've built the pipeline of talent. - You talked about the hardships you encountered on the campaign trial, character assassination, the anxiety of it dealing with failure. Business is riddled with the same inevitable hardships. So tell me, in building girls who code, tell me about the other side, which is the difficult parts. - Well, I mean, what I didn't know what I was doing, you know, and like I had never built a large-scale organization like that. And so, you know, I had one of the good things was that I had a board that believed to me, always built your first board as family and friends, because everybody then is wanting you to succeed. And so they really protected me.


The difficult parts of building girls who code (36:20)

Like I am intense and if you're gonna come work for me, you know, it's gonna be intense. - I find intense. - And so, you know, I don't, I'm better now, but... - I'm gonna ask you him, please. - Yeah, I'm better now, but I got big vision and I wanna get it done. And I work all the time and I don't stop. And it's, I'm always pushing. And I believe in many ways I'm an evangelist. And I believe in, so it is my gospel. Girls with Crows My Life, my gospel, my religion. And so I think if you're gonna come work for me, it's your religion too. - I heard you're the passion filter. Get off your code. - I do have a passion filter. - Yeah. - Yeah, but then when you become a thousand people, you know, you, you or, you know, like you, it's hard, you're not gonna get everybody who's gonna have that same passion and that same intensity. - Do you struggle with that? When people don't seem to... - Well, they don't believe? - Well, no, when they don't behave in the way that you would have behaved in that situation. Or when they don't seem to have the same passion and, you know, that you have. - Yeah, I don't believe in jobs. But for some people, it's a job. But I don't believe in jobs. So when, so that, I've, you know, what do they say, you have the triangle, right? You have A people, every organization has top A people and then B and then C's and then D's. But you need to have a couple of C's, maybe not D's, right? And so, and also, you know, I was just telling you about my father that sent me the 10 page email or, you know, about all the things I did wrong. I wasn't good at great job. Thank you for doing that. Because I was in a, this was church. This was religion, you know? And so I got, I got better at these things. You know, one of the things I was always good at though, was hiring people who were smarter than me. I never had an ego about like, I want to be the one. And so I had really amazing people from the beginning who as they say knew how to speak Rashma. - Did you get the praise, criticism, balance wrong? - I definitely got the praise, criticism balance wrong. - Same. - I definitely got-- - I still have it wrong now. - I feel, I have to, I get, I'm better now 'cause I just send flowers. So it's like, you know what? Because I don't need it. And maybe I tell myself I don't need it. People don't say to me on a daily basis, good job. Great work. - But you get it, right? 'Cause you get it everywhere you go. Every time they, I mean, you're on CNBC earlier on, right? The way they introduce you is, you know, this is what I'm just thinking, I'm answering this for myself because I was interrogating that from my perspective. No one ever says well done to us in terms of our team. Right, really, like in the same way, there's no, but we get, I get it, if I open my DMs on Instagram, I get, oh my God, you, you know. - You do, I do too. But you know, as Simon told you this, I stepped off as CEO a year ago because I also never believed that anyone should do anything for too long. And I had built the organization, I had the money in the bank, I had a vision, I had an amazing woman that I wanted to take the reins from me. And the day we make the announcement, my chief of staff, Gloria, is like, okay, I'm freshmen, I'm gonna block off two to four because you're gonna get inundated with so many messages congratulating you, thanking you for your service. And I was like, okay, yes, I'm ready for it. You know, Trig and I make the announcement, nothing. And she emails me, Trig and you emails me, you know, at five being like, oh my God, you must be over. I'm so overwhelmed with all the messages that I've gotten congratulating me for being the new CEO of Girls with Code Duma's also, and I didn't wanna make her feel like she's such a wonderful person. I was like, yeah, nothing. And I realized at that moment because I wasn't the head bitch in charge anymore. Right, I wasn't the CEO anymore. And so it was a wonderful, though, lesson, a little bit too about how much of that is coming from who you are and how much of that is really this, because you don't know until you die. - I had a few words to say about one of my sponsors on this podcast. One of the greatest tips I can give any small business owner listening right now is to take risks. In fact, the biggest risk to your business will be taking two fewer risks, complacency and comfort seeking will harm your success, but taking risks can be incredibly daunting. That's why I've partnered with Vodafone Business and their V-Hub, which offers free one-to-one sessions with V-Hub digital advisors, and you can call up and speak to one completely free of charge, sharing your ideas and getting input from someone who's knowledgeable on the topic and able to help you towards your next business step. To find out more, search V-Hub by Vodafone. And thank you for Vodafone for sponsoring this podcast.


What would you have done differently? (41:38)

- So this big organization, Girls Who Code, all around the world, doing incredibly well, what would you have done differently? - I would, so I think what I got really wrong was the personal. You know, at the same time, I was trying to build Girls Who Code, I was trying to have a baby, and I had more miscarriages than I can count. And I got into this habit at Girls Who Code, you know, very again, so, you know, I launched Girls Who Code and launched my campaign, I had my first miscarriage. And I think when you have your first miscarriage, you think, oh, it was a sifluk, and then I had a series of them. But I would literally, you know, then I'm heads down, building Girls Who Code, and again, I think when you are a social entrepreneur and you're building something, the work is never done. And it's always at the sacrifice of others. And you always are giving, giving, giving. And I would get into, I got into this habit where, you know, I'd have to go to the doctor's office, my husband and I for the 11, 12 week check-in. And I'd have something planned in the evening, introducing President Obama, speaking to a thousand girls, doing a fundraising dinner. And the doctor at three o'clock would say, I'm sorry, Miss Adjani, you know, we don't hear a heartbeat. And instead of saying, hey guys, I can't show up, I'd say, okay, I cry, my husband would be like, "Rashmugo home." And I'd be like, I gotta show up at this thing, and I'd show up. And I would did that for seven years, six years, seven years, where it just, and I would remember, I would stand there in front of the crowd and be like, something's wrong with me. The fact that I can do this. And I would be oftentimes standing in front of a thousand little girls, that little girl that I desperately wanted. And so it wasn't until, you know, I think when it became too much of the way that I was leading and living. And, you know, by the time after I had my first and the second, my second child, the same pattern started becoming. Then when I was one time, I got, I was in San Francisco and I had to go fly to Utah. And same thing, you know, Dr. Colson says, you know, your levels don't look good, you're gonna miss Kerry soon. And I got on that plane to Utah and I had to sit down with the governor of Utah. And again, another thousand girls. And then I just broke down. And I remember I assembled my team and I said, "I can't do this anymore." Like, I'm taking a couple months off or a month off, I need you to run this organization. This is what is happening in my life and has been happening. You know, every picture, every TED talk, every, and when I look at me standing with President Obama or the TED talk, I think about the tragedy or the baby that was quite frankly dying inside of me. And so for me, I got that really wrong, really wrong. And I don't want people, and part of what I'm grateful for is people didn't know because, you know, I'm also in the responsibility of a lot of young women who work for me and I don't want them to think that that's the price that you have to pay. - What advice would you give people to avoid them hitting? 'Cause you've hit a rock bottom moment multiple times in your life through like unsustainable behavior, right? - Yeah. - That's how I see it. So what advice would you give to people who are probably veering towards another rock bottom in their lives because they're not listening to themselves, I guess? - Well, I mean, I think the thing is is that, I think many of us live in this, like up and then crash, right? And that's what we think is the way that you're supposed to live. And I think you need to live always healthy, meaning like you have to put your personal mental health and your personal health first. And so don't wait for rock bottom to hit. See the signs early on and take those breaks, take that time off, you know, take a nap, whatever it is that you need to do, don't live in that same way anymore. But it's hard because again, the entire girl boss culture, the entire kind of lean in culture, the entire CEO culture is about living that way. So almost like a badge of honor. Hey, I had, you know, no heartbeat and I went and gave a speech. Like that's almost like what we think we're supposed to do to lead, that's strength. And I think we have to completely revise what that means and what it means to be a leader. And it means, you know, empathy. I too, you know, was leading girls who could during the pandemic and had to lay off a bunch of people. And until that point, I had never cried in front of my team and I would just cry and cry. And then I would get mad at myself about crying, but then I'd be like, no, no, no, that's exactly what you're supposed to do. You're supposed to cry. You're supposed to show vulnerability. You're supposed to say, hey guys, I just got some incredibly horrible news. I'm not coming to work. But that's often seen as a sign of weakness and we have to make that a sign of strength. - I'm guessing your book Brave Not Perfect was written in this period of your life. - Oh yes. - Right? - Yeah. - 'Cause there's many things you regret about that book. - Yeah. Because I think that book was also about corporate feminism about fixing the women and not fixing the structure. And look, I acknowledge that in the book that, you know, but what I used to say is, you know, while we're fixing the institutions, let's figure out how we can fix ourselves. You know, IE, you know, unlearning perfectionism and orientating yourself towards bravery. But I really believe that, Steven. You know, I really bought into that that we could get to equality. You know, that it was really about the power pose, you know, and the color coding of your calendar and the delegating more and then not crying in the bathroom and all the things that you were supposed to do to be a leader. And I think that's what women have been told. And so we were never looking at, well, what's wrong with the structure? Why, for example, going back to my experience, I was telling you about fertility, you know, why do we do performance reviews and that wellness reviews? Why are you not supposed to be sad at work? Why are you not supposed to cry? You know, where did these values show up? And how do we get them out? - Written on the back of your new book, which takes a very different approach on many narratives.


Fixing the system not the women (48:18)

Rachelle Simmons says, "Finally we have a book that aims to fix the system, not the women." And I think when I was reading about why you wrote this book, pay up the future of women and work, I read that you wrote it from a place of one hand anger, but also hope for change. - Yeah. - Why anger? - Well, listen, I mean, I, I as a mom, you know, found myself 2020, you know, start of the year with Girls of Code having a Super Bowl ad. I was gonna teach more girls than I ever had before. I was having my second baby finally, you know, via surrogate. And so I was really looking forward to when I was born, just spending that time with him and just hugging him and kissing him and staring at him because I had missed carrying him in the womb. And then, you know, a few weeks later, the pandemic hit. And I found myself having to take care of my newborn, homeschooled my six-year-old, and saved my nonprofit Girls of Code from being shut down, because when pandemics hit, the first resources to go are the women and girls. You know, my whole leadership team were mostly working women. And what we were saying to each other on the Zoom chat, was just, just hold on, hold on, because when September comes and the schools open, everything will be fine. And I remember that when that September came and I got that letter from our Department of Education, my son goes to public school in New York City, they announced this thing called, you know, hybrid learning, where you got to log on your kid at nine o'clock, 10 o'clock, and 11 o'clock, all the while maintaining your full-time job. I thought two things came to my mind. The first one, which was incredibly naive, like, aren't they gonna ask me? Because, you know, in the United States, we have these time-and-use surveys. And so we knew, in the early months of the pandemic, who was doing the homeschooling? It was women. And so we knew that if we made a policy, like closing down the schools, that it was invariably going to force millions of women to leave the workforce, because they couldn't supplement, you know, their paid labor, they were gonna have to supplement their paid labor for unpaid labor. And so the fact that someone that I don't even know could make a decision that could affect my life on a dime terrified me. And then the second thing was, you started seeing, again, over the course of the pandemic, 11 million women leave the workforce. And I knew from building Girls with Crowed, because, you know, Girls with Crowed, I was trying to solve the gender gap in technology. But what people forget is that we didn't always have a gender gap in technology, that in the 1980s, we were pretty much almost at parity, and then we pushed women out. And so similarly here, you can't have women be 51% of the labor force, and then become, you know, in the 40s, again, percent of the labor force, and have all those women leave in nine months, and think that it's not an off switch. So I remember like, where's the plan? Like, is the president gonna get on and announce the plan that we're gonna have to make sure that we don't devastate decades of feminism? And so there was no plan. And that's what really inspired me to start this moment. So I wrote an op-ed. I often, Stephen, when I get angry, right? And then just post things, post articles, and I made them a staker. Actually, it was the best thing that ever happened, is I read the comment section. And my op-ed was that we need a Marshall Plan for Moms. And when I read the comment section, people on the left were like, well, what about the dads? And I was like, even though, again, men had not been pushed out of the labor force, 'cause this was from a data perspective, solely affecting women. And then people on the right, well, motherhood's a choice. So you don't get to have affordable childcare or paid leave or any structural support, because you chose to be a mom. And it was the first time I was like, wow, motherhood is controversial. And I kind of had that same sense that I had when I started Girls with Code. Like, this is a problem that needs solving. Again, especially for women like our mothers. You know, my mom, when I was a kid, I was a latchkey kid from the time I was seven. And my parents couldn't afford the $50 a week for childcare. And so for the time, my sister and I were seven and 10, she would pick me up from middle school and we would go home. Now, my mom, I told you that we lived in this neighborhood that didn't really want any brown families there. So we wouldn't walk home, we would run home. And then we would open up the door and close it, and we would hide in the closet, because we were terrified. And I think about how my mother felt every day at 3.45, knowing that her babies were running home because they couldn't afford childcare and the unconscionable choices that mothers, mothers of color have to make every single day. Because we don't make it possible for them to be mothers and have a job. And so that is when I was just like, all of this girl boss, the qualities of the expression to corner office, it's just all about you, it was like, that's a lie. And I've been selling this lie for the past 10 years. And if we're really gonna get to a quality, we have to fix the systems. - There's a really staggering stat in chapter four of your book that says that women are now spending more time on childcare than they did in, I think it was 1980. - Yep. - Which is pretty staggering, because I thought one would think based on all the noise that I've heard about our quality and one of these things that women would be spending less time on childcare than 1980. - Yeah, it's 'cause we're in this moment of intensive parenting. Think about our, my parents didn't even know where I applied to college. They didn't know what I was doing at home workers, just like go raise yourself, right? Now, we're taking our kids to Spanish, Hindi, and Chinese, you're learning three languages, going to piano class, basketball class. We're constantly on top of our kids because that is a societal expectation that we have to intensively parent our children at the expense of our own mental health. And we also have to be completely on as workers. We're in this hustle culture where you're constantly driving, driving, driving, you know, at work. And so if you're a working woman, you have these two huge expectations that you basically have to meet and it's exhausting. And it's why we have a mental health crisis. You know, 51% of mothers say that they're anxious and depressed. You know, the CDC released a study saying that the subgroup that is suffering the most anxiety and depression are, you know, working women, you're seeing this in the UK. It's an alcoholism, at all addiction. It is on the rise, rising suicide rates of mothers. Mothers don't break, but they're broken right now. And young people feel like they can easily talk about their mental health and how they're feeling. But it's not again, you don't hear mothers talk about that. We're not supposed to. We're supposed to be martyrs, essentially, or have it all together. And so there's no outlet for us. You know, I say in my book, when working women make a list, it's like they're kids, you know, they're partners, they're pet and then themselves. We are last on the list. We do no self care. And society doesn't, you know, doesn't expect that we should be doing that. It's seen as being a bad mom or being selfish when we spend time on ourselves. - How is your mental health?


How is your mental health? (56:21)

- I would say that I am a, I would say that I am a six. Right now, I mean, I'm exhausted. I'm not gonna lie. I think I have, you know, two little kids, now two and seven. You know, the pandemic has been crushing. You know, my seven year old eats his clothes 'cause he's anxious. You know, my two year old, you know, can't talk yet. You know, he's got asthma. You know, he gets sick all the time 'cause now the masks come out and now his son doesn't, you know, his brother doesn't have one, so he's getting sick. So, you know, our kids have really been traumatized because of the pandemic and now we're traumatized. And so, I do think that like, and I think a lot of the women in my life, I think we just need a beat. Like, I wish they would announce like a national vacation for like a month. - Maybe that's the answer to the question I was compelled to ask next, but how would you get yourself, if you were to give yourself advice, if I just told you what you'd told me, I was the six, what advice would you give me to get to attend? - I would say, take a break, you know, or do things for yourself. And listen, I think I'm much better at that. So, I got one of the best things I got for myself was a whoop. - Hmm, yeah. - So, I'm like obsessed about my sleep. And to the extent that I will go to bed at 8 a.m. or leave a dinner early, because I know that if I'm getting eight hours of sleep, I am my best version. I try to play tennis three times a week. I love tennis, I'm horrible at it, but I love it. You know, I try to have fun. I went to a Justin Bieber concert last weekend. You know, I do date night, I got girls trips planned. I make more time for myself. I don't, I don't get on, but you know, basically for 10 years as I was building Girls Recode, I would probably do two to three flights a week. And then trying to take the red eyes to be home for my babies. And I don't do that anymore. You know, I say no. I realize that like, it's not that this opportunity is gonna go away. I didn't realize that before. You know what I mean? I was like, I gotta do this. I gotta show up here. I gotta, but no, it's like, maybe I won't get this chance again, but oh well. And it's really liberating. And so I think the only reason why I'm a six, quite frankly, is I'm in the middle of a book tour. And so I've definitely been orientating more towards old Rashma of like, you know, three, four talks a day, getting on planes, doing the thing, not sleeping as much, eating too many chocolate chip cookies. Like, but I think my habits and have been much more healthier than they've ever been. I'm also really practicing not wanting things. I think growing up as an immigrant, I needed credentials. I needed those degrees. I needed that validation. I needed those accolades. And I was always chasing the next big thing. And it's funny as I sit here, there's nothing I want. There's no title I want. There's no award I want. There's no recognition I want. And when I start catching myself wanting things, I pull back. You know, I told you I was just, I applied to Yale Law School three times before I got in. And I got a call last November from the president of Yale saying, we would be honored if you'd be our commencement speaker. Now, Stephen, like the commencement speakers are normally like Hillary, Barack, you know what I mean? - I've watched them. I've watched them. Steve Jobs did, I think, Harvard and the show, but yeah. - And I was like, me? And I was like, "The real one?" You know, then. - The real one. - The real one. And then of course my friends were like, the real one was like, the real one? I was like, "Yes, the real one." But it was so amazing. One, getting that because that I had been chasing them for so long and finally they asked me. But two, it was exactly, I wasn't chasing it. - A few questions that in terms of getting, putting up those boundaries and getting good at saying no, is there now like a, I think as we age, we develop a prism in which our decisions filter through, which allows us to decide whether this is serving us or not.


How do you decide what to say yes or no to? (01:00:46)

Like when you're younger, you just say yes to everything. So some guy with, I don't know, radio station no one's listening to wants to interview you. Oh my God, someone wants to interview. Yes, I will fly towards-- - Tell me where I'll be there. - Exactly, yeah. But then you realize the importance of time and that every decision you're saying yes to comes at the expense of something else, is that what is your prism now where you find yourself in your career when you're deciding what to say yes or no to? - So two things, I think one impact-- - Yeah. - Into, I love, listen, I love people who are starting up and who I know that if I go on their podcast or if I, if I have them interview me, I will be the most famous guest that they have and it will help them. I like to be that person. And sometimes my team will be like, "Well, you don't have time to do something." No, no, no, no, these are the ones that are actually the most important to me. And because someone did that for me. And that's how I'm sitting here with you today. And then I think, again, I think going back, I've been studying the book with Gita, which has again been a gift I gave myself this year 'cause it's been something I've been wanting to do for a long time. - What does it mean? - The Gita's basically are kind of religious book and Hinduism, but it's really a, you know, it's really a book about spirituality and about how do you stay really focused on what you're meant to do in this earth and not get distracted by all the shiny things. And that's really important to me is I kind of enter this final, the stage of my life of like, again, staying very focused on what I'm on this earth to do and not getting distracted by all the shiny things. And one of the things that Gita says is like, it doesn't make sense that humans want things 'cause all you're doing is inviting yourself for disappointment, right? If you didn't want anything, you don't get it. Doesn't matter 'cause you never wanted it. And so, you know, that has been a really big gift for me and really staying focused because if I'm put on this earth to be a warrior, and my job right now is to fight for mothers to get them respected and dignified into change workplaces, you know, so that they work for women and that this is the once opportunity to make that structural change, then everything I'm saying yes to is about furthering that, my service for the people. - In your book, you talk about that change and you kind of list for sort of key principles for bringing about that change.


Empowering women in a practical way (01:03:30)

Empower, educate, revise, and advocate. - Yes. - Tell me about empower. What did you mean when you wrote that in your book? - Yeah, so look, I mean, empower is really about, like women are always told like, you should just meditate more, do yoga, and if you do that, you'll feel really good. And so I didn't want to take those kind of dated, you know, again, fix the woman stuff, but really what are some like non-negotiables? And so, one of the things I talk about in the book is this idea of creating tangible boundaries. And so like in my house, you know, my husband does the nights and I do the mornings. And if I'm sitting around watching Netflix at six, so, but hey, can you change a diaper? Can you move over the bottle? So at six o'clock, I just bounce. I go for dinner by myself, you know, I go out with my friends, I walk by my point, I'm gone. And so I've created that boundary so that I don't get roped into doing more of that unpaid labor than I need to. And so I think that the need to create boundaries, all of us is really critical. You know, the second piece is really about how are we shifting employers? I am literally, just like I was with girls, but I am on a mission to get companies to start subsidizing childcare, you know, in the United States and then in the world. You know, in the US, you know, childcare is like the largest expense for families. Most families pay more for childcare than they pay for their mortgage. And right now, less than 10% of companies subsidize childcare. We often think of childcare as your personal problem. But childcare is an economic issue. And so I am building this National Business Coalition to get companies to start paying for people's childcare. They pay for people's egg freezing and IVF. They should be paying when you take care, you know what I mean, when you have a child. And so how are we shifting again, this idea of, you know, what employers should be doing? You know, it's a women's history month, last month. And so many of the conversations we were having, you know, probably, you know, again, across the country, across the world is about, you know, you should get a mentor, you should get a sponsor. All of the programming that we do around women's empowerment is about fixing women. It needs to be about fixing workplaces. You know, why don't companies offer childcare? Why don't companies mandate paid leave for men? So that when you're, again, doing childcare, childbearing from the beginning, you get the ratio right, you get the equation right. Why are we still fighting flexibility and remote working? Why are we still trying to demand that men and women commute two hours and not see their children or their pets or their elderly parents? You know, why are we resisting again, you know, what we've learned from the pandemic and forcing ourselves back to the old normal? And how do we push against this? You know, and again, shift corporate policies. The third thing I talk about in this book is about, you know, how do you revise the culture? You know, again, it's so normal for women, for example, you know, to hide their motherhood. I remember when I became a mom and my team was like, great, like you should be a mom, I'm like, no, anything but a mom. You know, moms are seen as like, you know, again, you know, when you become a mother, you're seen as like, you don't no longer care about your career. It's like where you go to die. And I think we have to start shifting that and we have to start parenting out loud. You know, you shouldn't be hiding your kids from your workplace. You shouldn't be apologizing when your kids interrupt or zoom call. You shouldn't be waiting to the last possible second to say that you're pregnant because you're worried that your employer is gonna discriminate against you. You know, we have to really start parenting out loud and being honest about that. You know, you go on Instagram and you see pictures of mothers and their kids and they're all beautiful and they're wearing matching outfits. That's not what vacations look like. You know, my vacation everyone's fighting with each other and we're screaming, tell the truth about what it looks like. You know, and that's how we begin to shift, I think the cultural image of motherhood and we shift from being martyrs, you know, to being respected and to being valued. But like, you know, again, I think, I think motherhood needs to refresh across the world. And then finally, it's really about advocating for change. You know, we just went through, you know, in the US, you know, we just went through the president kind of proposing policies and nothing got changed. We didn't get, you know, United States is one of the only nations that doesn't have paid leave. You know, we don't have affordable childcare. In the UK, you have a parental income. We don't have those things. You know, and so we need to really make structural change that comes from the government to really make lasting change. And we, you know, as working women have to learn how we fight for ourselves. You know, we have so many movements that are about protecting our kids, you know, mothers against drunk driving, mothers who are marching against, you know, gun reform, mothers that are trying to protect the climate. But there isn't a movement of mothers fighting for moms. You know, I tell people all the time, you can't change the lives of girls unless you change the future of women. - Quick one. We bring in eight people a month to watch these conversations live here in the studio when we're here in the UK and when we're in LA. If you want to be one of those people, all you've got to do is hit subscribe. As you look forward at your mission and your future and what you hope to achieve in the next chapter of your life, what is that tangibly?


What does success look like in your future? (01:09:01)

If I had to measure success, if I was to say that you're, you know, all the things you write about, the change you write about in this book, if I was to measure it and say it was successful, what would the world look like? - So we have true equality. You know, that little girls can be everything and anything, honestly, you know, that they can be president or prime minister, that they can launch a company, you know, and get seed funding, that they can be a scientist, that they can literally, or they can be a stay-at-home mom, that they can be whoever and whatever that they want. And I think my hope for mothers is that they too don't see their biggest dreams die on the vine, that they don't live a life of regret and envy and should have been, would have been, because they let things happen to them rather than change things, that we live in a world where we respect and we dignify women and girls. We're not there yet. You know, we're so far from being there in many ways. And I think part of it again is because of the things that we've sold women, that we've basically told women that the problem is you. Think about all the books that women read, confidence code. I gotta learn how to do a power pose. I gotta lean in. All of it is about women thinking that you're wrong. The amount of times that women come to me and say, I have imposter syndrome. I'm like, no, no, no, no, no, no, they didn't let you in. You're in there because you are the best. But now you're made to feel like you stuck through the back door. And so what I am saying in many ways is really radical. And it's, you know, very deeply seated in us. And it's not just it's women, it's people of color, it's poor people, anybody who is not, you know, who has really, you know, had to, had to do grit perseverance, you know, found themselves in rooms that people don't look like them. We're still asking ourselves, do I belong here? Should I be here? And we're constantly being fed information, book, podcast, movies that tell ourselves that we just have to change one more thing about ourselves, that we had to fix one more thing. And, you know, it's just simply not true. I always say that I feel so lucky that, you know, through the work that I've done, I've been able to be in almost every single powerful room. I've probably met every single powerful person in the world. And, you know, I used to be that girl at Yale Law School in my constitutional law class going like this. And, you know, a few years ago, I got asked to give a speech at Bill Gates' summit. And the slot that they had given me was between Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. And it was the only speech that anyone was giving. It was a summit of Fortune 100 CEO. So you can imagine who was in the room. And I remember them saying, you know, this is a really hard speaking slot, Rashma, because most people are really intimidated, because Bill and Warren are sitting in the front row and it can be a little scary. And I remember as I was sitting there in the backstage, they had given me 10 minutes of speech. I remember thinking, man, I wish they gave me 12, 'cause I really had some more stuff to say. And then I remember thinking, how did I become, how did I become this woman when I used to be that girl? And I remember thinking, yeah, it's because I've been in every single powerful room. I've met every single CEO, every president, every Prime Minister. And when I meet them, I'm like, you? You're running what? Me and my girls, we can run circles around you. And I realized that it's never been about whether we were qualified, whether we're prepared, whether we're ready, that we've really never really dissected all of the undeserved, unearned privilege that so many people have, and that we've literally bought and been fed, you know, basically this propaganda that we're not good enough, that we're not smart enough, that we don't belong. And the real resistance in this moment is saying no more. I'm not reading those books. I'm not taking those courses. I'm not taking that class. I'm not buying into that bullshit. I'm here, and I can lead too. - That's a very powerful place to end.


Final Audience Question

The last guests question (01:13:45)

However, we do have a closing tradition. - Okay. - I'm just podcasting. Whether the previous guest writes the question for the next guest. - Oh my gosh, okay. - And I don't get to see, you don't get to find out who it is, and I don't get to read it until I open this book. - Amazing. - So, Jack, is the only person I gets to read it? When was the last time a day flew by, and what were you doing? You know one of those days? - I don't know if I've had a day, but I've definitely had a couple hours. And I think the last time was I actually got to visit my son's school for the very first time in the pandemic. And my son is a little Gandhi. He is like the kindest little soul. And just being able to watch him, and him show me his things, and just seeing him interact in the joy, and like the confidence and the kindness. And I could have sat there all day, and it felt like again a minute, 'cause I think I was so happy. - Does he understand your work? - He does. He does understand. I mean, he does understand. He is mad at me sometimes. Why are you always fighting for girls and moms? What about the boys? But-- - You don't get to go to your room. - You know, it's funny. I brought, I would bring him everywhere, you know, from being on The Daily Show, or giving a commencement speech. And so, he's seen Mama lead and speak, and he knows that I'm helping people. And I think it's in many ways, I think it has, he always say that he wants to be a kindness engineer, that he wants to, you know, be an engineer to help people. And maybe get, hopefully, I'm gonna take credit for that a little bit, 'cause I think he sees that, you know, in the work that I do. But yeah, he's an old soul. - Thank you. I have to say, you know, it's really a tremendous thing, it's really inspiring the thought that you've managed to get almost half a million girls into coding. It really, really inspires me in a deep level, because I've been thinking about work that I wanna do in my life. And so, reading through your story was a real source of inspiration, specifically around, I've been thinking a lot about, 'cause I'm an investor on the show called Jagan's Den in the UK, been thinking a lot about how young kids from disadvantaged backgrounds don't know how to invest their money, don't know about taxes and all those kinds of things. And seeing the model of girls who code and how you've managed to reach so many people on a topic that is liberating if people can understand it in the same way that understanding money is liberating, if you can truly understand it. Has been, is a blueprint for me. And that's why it was so excited to meet you. And your book is really fantastic. It's one of those books that leaves you with a real sense of mission and inspiration and really makes you take stock of your life and the future of the industry we all reside in in the working world. It's also made me consider a lot of changes that I need to make in my own companies, even this conversation we've had today, because I, as a male CEO, and male CEOs are the dominant force at the top of organizations, they are the most abundant creature in organizations, especially in the Fortune 500, white male CEOs in particular, can't understand a lot of these things because they haven't had the lived experience. And even when they say they understand a lot of the time, it's either virtue signaling to protect the bottom line or something else. And having forces like you in the world that are able to articulate this systemic challenge in a such an articulate way is more necessary now than ever before. So thank you for being you and thank you for writing a book that I feel everybody needs to read. Pay up the future of women and work. - Thank you. - Quick one. As we all know, energy independence and living a little greener has never been more important for a better future. It's a journey I've been on over the last couple of years that I've shared with you sporadically. Ever since I sold my Ranger over sport and bought an electric bicycle. And there's a lot of people out there that listen to this podcast that are looking to make that sustainable switch in the things that run their daily life, whether it's their home, their car, their vehicles, whatever it might be. So when a good friend of mine at a company called My Energy called Jordan told me she was interested in sponsoring this podcast, I jumped at the opportunity. So for those of you that don't know, My Energy are a UK renewable energy brand whose mission is to increase the usage of green energy, helping people like you and I to save time and money when it comes to making sustainable switches in our lives. So if this resonates with you and you're the type of person that's been looking or thinking about going on your own sustainability journey, I highly recommend checking them out at MyEnergy.com. Quick one, as the seasons have begun to change, so has my diet. And right now, I'm just gonna be completely honest with you. I'm starting to think a lot about slimming down a little bit because over the last couple of, probably the last four or five months, my diet has been pretty bad. And so one of the things I'm doing now to reduce my calorie intake and trying to get back to being nutritionally complete and all I eat is I'm having the fuel protein shake. Thank you, you all, for making a product that I actually like. The salted caramel is my favorite. I've got the banana one here, which is where the one my girlfriend likes, but for me, salted caramel is the one.


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