Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code, has long worked to close the gender gap in technology. But after seeing the exhaustion on the faces of many moms on her team as the pandemic unfolded, she was inspired to use her nonprofit to tackle the broader challenges women face in the workforce. They earn less than men; they get passed over for promotions more than men; and they tend to take on more of the caregiving responsibilities for children and elderly parents. The pandemic made things worse. Census data reveals that as of July 2021, nearly a million fewer mothers were actively working than in July 2020. So, on December 7, 2020, Saujani wrote an op-ed for The Hill asking for paid family leave, affordable child care, and pay equity policies. The following month, the mother of two bought a full-page ad in The New York Times, addressed to President Joe Biden from 50 prominent women, urging him to adopt a Marshall Plan for Moms, so-named for America’s 1948 initiative to invest in rebuilding Europe after World War II. “It’s about getting rid of the motherhood penalty at work—and really reimagining motherhood in America so it works for moms,” Saujani says.–Diana Ransom
Reshma Saujani is the founder of Girls Who Code and the Marshall Plan for Moms, as well as the author of the forthcoming book Pay Up: The Future of Women and Work (and Why It’s Different Than You Think). Saujani has spent more than a decade building movements to fight for women and girls’ economic empowerment, working to close the gender gap in the tech sector, and most recently advocating for policies to support moms impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. She is also the author of the international bestseller Brave, Not Perfect, and her influential TED talk, “Teach girls bravery, not perfection,” has more than five million views globally. Saujani began her career as an attorney and Democratic organizer. In 2010, she became the first Indian American woman to run for U.S. Congress.
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