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  • So a few years ago,

  • I did something really brave,

  • or some would say really stupid.

  • I ran for Congress.

  • For years, I had existed safely behind the scenes in politics

  • as a fundraiser, as an organizer,

  • but in my heart, I always wanted to run.

  • The sitting congresswoman had been in my district since 1992.

  • She had never lost a race,

  • and no one had really even run against her in a Democratic primary.

  • But in my mind, this was my way

  • to make a difference,

  • to disrupt the status quo.

  • The polls, however, told a very different story.

  • My pollsters told me that I was crazy to run,

  • that there was no way that I could win.

  • But I ran anyway,

  • and in 2012, I became an upstart in a New York City congressional race.

  • I swore I was going to win.

  • I had the endorsement from the New York Daily News,

  • the Wall Street Journal snapped pictures of me on election day,

  • and CNBC called it one of the hottest races in the country.

  • I raised money from everyone I knew,

  • including Indian aunties

  • that were just so happy an Indian girl was running.

  • But on election day, the polls were right,

  • and I only got 19 percent of the vote,

  • and the same papers that said I was a rising political star

  • now said I wasted 1.3 million dollars

  • on 6,321 votes.

  • Don't do the math.

  • It was humiliating.

  • Now, before you get the wrong idea,

  • this is not a talk about the importance of failure.

  • Nor is it about leaning in.

  • I tell you the story of how I ran for Congress

  • because I was 33 years old

  • and it was the first time in my entire life

  • that I had done something that was truly brave,

  • where I didn't worry about being perfect.

  • And I'm not alone:

  • so many women I talk to tell me

  • that they gravitate towards careers and professions

  • that they know they're going to be great in,

  • that they know they're going to be perfect in,

  • and it's no wonder why.

  • Most girls are taught to avoid risk and failure.

  • We're taught to smile pretty,

  • play it safe, get all A's.

  • 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 headfirst.

  • And by the time they're adults,

  • whether they're negotiating a raise or even asking someone out on a date,

  • they're habituated to take risk after risk.

  • They're rewarded for it.

  • It's often said in Silicon Valley,

  • no one even takes you seriously unless you've had two failed start-ups.

  • In other words,

  • we're raising our girls to be perfect,

  • and we're raising our boys to be brave.

  • Some people worry about our federal deficit,

  • but I, I worry about our bravery deficit.

  • Our economy, our society, we're just losing out

  • because we're not raising our girls to be brave.

  • The bravery deficit is why women are underrepresented in STEM,

  • in C-suites, in boardrooms, in Congress,

  • and pretty much everywhere you look.

  • In the 1980s, psychologist Carol Dweck

  • looked at how bright fifth graders handled an assignment

  • that was too difficult for them.

  • She found that bright girls were quick to give up.

  • The higher the IQ, the more likely they were to give up.

  • Bright boys, on the other hand,

  • found the difficult material to be a challenge.

  • They found it energizing.

  • They were more likely to redouble their efforts.

  • What's going on?

  • Well, at the fifth grade level,

  • girls routinely outperform boys in every subject,

  • including math and science,

  • so it's not a question of ability.

  • The difference is in how boys and girls approach a challenge.

  • And it doesn't just end in fifth grade.

  • An HP report found that men will apply for a job

  • if they meet only 60 percent of the qualifications,

  • but women, women will apply

  • only if they meet 100 percent of the qualifications.

  • 100 percent.

  • This study is usually invoked as evidence that, well,

  • women need a little more confidence.

  • But I think it's evidence

  • that women have been socialized to aspire to perfection,

  • and they're overly cautious.

  • (Applause)

  • And even when we're ambitious,

  • even when we're leaning in,

  • that socialization of perfection

  • has caused us to take less risks in our careers.

  • And so those 600,000 jobs that are open 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 socialized to be perfect.

  • (Applause)

  • So in 2012, I started a company to teach girls to code,

  • and what I found is that by teaching them to code

  • I had socialized them to be brave.

  • Coding, it's an endless process of trial and error,

  • of trying to get the right command in the right place,

  • with sometimes just a semicolon

  • making the difference between success and failure.

  • Code breaks and then it falls apart,

  • and it often takes many, many tries

  • until that magical moment

  • when what you're trying to build comes to life.

  • It requires perseverance.

  • It requires imperfection.

  • We immediately see in our program

  • our girls' fear of not getting it right,

  • of not being perfect.

  • Every Girls Who Code teacher tells me the same story.

  • During the first week, when the girls are learning how to code,

  • a student will call her over and she'll say,

  • "I don't know what code to write."

  • The teacher will look at her screen,

  • and she'll see a blank text editor.

  • If she didn't know any better, she'd think that her student

  • spent the past 20 minutes just staring at the screen.

  • But if she presses undo a few times,

  • she'll see that her student wrote code and then deleted it.

  • She tried, she came close,

  • but she didn't get it exactly right.

  • Instead of showing the progress that she made,

  • she'd rather show nothing at all.

  • Perfection or bust.

  • It turns out that our girls are really good at coding,

  • but it's not enough just to teach them to code.

  • My friend Lev Brie, who is a professor at the University of Columbia

  • and teaches intro to Java

  • tells me about his office hours with computer science students.

  • When the guys are struggling with an assignment,

  • they'll come in and they'll say,

  • "Professor, there's something wrong with my code."

  • The girls will come in and say,

  • "Professor, there's something wrong with me."

  • We have to begin to undo the socialization of perfection,

  • but we've got to combine it with building a sisterhood

  • that lets girls know that they are not alone.

  • Because trying harder is not going to fix a broken system.

  • I can't tell you how many women tell me,

  • "I'm afraid to raise my hand,

  • I'm afraid to ask a question,

  • because I don't want to be the only one

  • who doesn't understand,

  • the only one who is struggling.

  • When we teach girls to be brave

  • and we have a supportive network cheering them on,

  • they will build incredible things,

  • and I see this every day.

  • Take, for instance, two of our high school students

  • who built a game called Tampon Run --

  • yes, Tampon Run --

  • to fight against the menstruation taboo

  • and sexism in gaming.

  • Or the Syrian refugee

  • who dared show her love for her new country

  • by building an app to help Americans get to the polls.

  • Or a 16-year-old girl who built an algorithm

  • to help detect whether a cancer is benign or malignant

  • in the off chance that she can save her daddy's life

  • because he has cancer.

  • These are just three examples of thousands,

  • thousands of girls who have been socialized to be imperfect,

  • who have learned to keep trying, who have learned perseverance.

  • And whether they become coders

  • or the next Hillary Clinton or Beyoncé,

  • they will not defer their dreams.

  • And those dreams have never been more important for our country.

  • For the American economy, for any economy to grow,

  • to truly innovate,

  • we cannot leave behind half our population.

  • We have to socialize our girls to be comfortable with imperfection,

  • and we've got to do it now.

  • We cannot wait for them to learn how to be brave like I did

  • when I was 33 years old.

  • We have to teach them to be brave in schools

  • and early in their careers,

  • when it has the most potential to impact their lives

  • and the lives of others,

  • and we have to show them that they will be loved and accepted

  • not for being perfect

  • but for being courageous.

  • And so I need each of you to tell every young woman you know --

  • your sister, your niece, your employee, your colleague --

  • to be comfortable with imperfection,

  • because when 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.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

  • Thank you.

  • Chris Anderson: Reshma, thank you.

  • It's such a powerful vision you have. You have a vision.

  • Tell me how it's going.

  • How many girls are involved now in your program?

  • Reshma Saujani: Yeah. So in 2012, we taught 20 girls.

  • This year we'll teach 40,000 in all 50 states.

  • (Applause)

  • And that number is really powerful,

  • because last year we only graduated 7,500 women in computer science.

  • Like, the problem is so bad

  • that we can make that type of change quickly.

  • CA: And you're working with some of the companies in this room even,

  • who are welcoming graduates from your program?

  • RS: Yeah, we have about 80 partners,

  • from Twitter to Facebook

  • to Adobe to IBM to Microsoft to Pixar to Disney,

  • I mean, every single company out there.

  • And if you're not signed up, I'm going to find you,

  • because we need every single tech company

  • to embed a Girls Who Code classroom in their office.

  • CA: And you have some stories back from some of those companies

  • that when you mix in more gender balance

  • in the engineering teams, good things happen.

  • RS: Great things happen.

  • I mean, I think that it's crazy to me to think about the fact

  • that right now 85 percent of all consumer purchases are made by women.

  • Women use social media at a rate of 600 percent more than men.

  • We own the Internet,

  • and we should be building the companies of tomorrow.

  • And I think when companies have diverse teams,

  • and they have incredible women that are part of their engineering teams,

  • they build awesome things, and we see it every day.

  • CA: Reshma, you saw the reaction there. You're doing incredibly important work.

  • This whole community is cheering you on. More power to you. Thank you.

  • RS: Thank you.

  • (Applause)

So a few years ago,

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B1 INT US TED brave perfection teach percent imperfection

【TED】Reshma Saujani: Teach girls bravery, not perfection (Teach girls bravery, not perfection | Reshma Saujani)

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    lin posted on 2018/03/07
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